Diverging trends on the EU sow market

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Continental sow prices seem to have become more polarised over the past six months.

Typically, the German price is the highest and the Danish price the lowest, with quotes for the Netherlands and France somewhere in between. However, last year the Dutch price increased and has since aligned closely with the German price. Similarly, the French price fell strongly at the end of 2017, to align with the Danish price. As such, there are now two district levels of cull sow price in Europe; currently around €1.02/100kg for Germany/the Netherlands, and €0.85/100kg for Denmark/France.

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The two price levels have also followed slightly different trends over the year so far. The German cull sow market has followed the price for clean pigs, rising throughout February but subsequently dropping back again. At €1.02/100kg for week ended 13 May, the current quote has returned to early February’s levels.

No GB sow prices are published by AHDB. However, the domestic price is normally driven by those in Germany, albeit at a discount. As such, the GB price would normally be expected to follow the same trend as the German/Dutch price, and indeed reports suggest the sow price had been falling until recently.

In contrast, while the Danish price recorded a smaller increase during February, prices have subsequently been more stable. At €0.85/100kg in week ended 13 May, the current quote is still €0.08 above the start of February.

Looking forward, reports suggest demand for meat has improved on the continent in recent weeks, reflecting the start of the barbeque season. As such, some upward momentum may be anticipated for both the clean pig and cull sow market. However, international trading conditions remain challenging, which threatens to subdue any positive price momentum.

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Bethan Wilkins, Analyst

bethan.wilkins@ahdb.org.uk, 024 7647 8757