EU pig meat production in February still strong
In February, EU pig slaughtering increased 1% on the year to 20.5 million head, according to data from Eurostat. This showed a slight slowdown in slaughterings compared to January, bringing the total for the first two months of the year to 43.9 million head, 4% (1.9 million head) higher than the same period last year.
Consistently heavier average carcase weights compared with a year ago raised EU pig meat production in February by 3%, to 1.9 million tonnes. For the first two months of 2018, EU production was 7% (252,000 tonnes) higher than the same period last year, at 4.1 million tonnes.
The increase in EU pig slaughtering was supported by increases in throughputs from Spain, the second largest producer of pig meat in the EU. Spain reported a 4% increase in slaughterings year-on-year, as it actively grows both its white pig herd and exports. Denmark and the UK also reported increased throughputs on the year by 5% (72,000 head) and 12% (95,000 thousand head) respectively. These increases were more than enough to compensate for the decline in slaughterings recorded in Germany, the EU’s largest pig meat producer. Slaughterings there fell by 3% (157,000 head) on the year in February, a development which contributed to the rally in European farm gate prices seen at the time. However, a strong start to the year means that in the first two months of the year in total, German slaughterings were still 2% ahead (190,000 head) than at the same time in 2017. The European price has since softened suggesting the dip in German throughputs was temporary, and the market as a whole is likely to be again in a position of slight oversupply.
Felicity Rusk, Trainee Analyst