Increase in EU weaner prices
In the 12 weeks to 25 February, the average 30kg EU weaner price has generally trended up week-on-week, increasing by €5.82 overall to stand at €48.02/head.
Despite this upward trend, the price in the most recent week ended 25 February was still €5.90 lower than year earlier levels. This reflects stronger upward momentum in prices over the same period last year, when weaners were in particularly short supply.
The upward trend in weaner prices has been especially strong in the past two weeks, with the EU average gaining €3.09 over this period. This is reflective of recent strong gains in the EU finished pig market, and supports reports that current demand is outstripping supply. Nonetheless, the EU breeding herd is reported to have increased slightly in December, and the spring upturn in breeding productivity is approaching. As such, the tight supply situation might ease somewhat in the coming weeks. Weaner prices typically peak in the early spring, before falling back through the summer.
In Spain, the average weaner price rose by a considerable €14.54, to €48.84/head in the 12 weeks to 25 February, driving the overall EU increase. The price in the most recent week is the highest since June 2017, however, this is still almost €6 lower than the equivalent week last year. Reports suggest that despite a growing breeding herd, Spanish weaner supplies are insufficient to fill the number of fattening places available. This has driven rising imports of weaners, with shipments from the Netherlands rising over 50% on the year in the final quarter of 2017. Such demand impacts weaner trade across the EU, increasing competition between weaner importers.
Similarly, the Netherlands’ price increased €7.25, to €36.75/head over the same 12-week period. In Germany there was also a price rise, however, it was more modest, just €2.20 in the 12 weeks to 25 February. In contrast, the UK and Danish weaner prices fell in the same period. Danish prices fell by €2.71 to stand at €39.48/head and UK prices by €2.88 to €56.82/head. Although, these declines were not sufficient to offset the overall EU weaner price increase.
Abigail Schofield, Trainee Analyst
Abigail.Schofield@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8610