EU pig prices falling

Monday, 4 May 2020

By Bethan Wilkins

Average EU pig prices have now been falling since mid-March, reaching €178.66/100kg in the latest week ending 26 April. As prices accelerated at this time last year, reacting to strong Chinese demand, the difference compared to 2019 levels has narrowed. In March, prices were about €50 more than a year earlier, but this has fallen to just €9 in the latest week.

The market is suffering from a drop in demand due to foodservice closures as a result of COVID-19 restrictions across Europe. Reports indicate that retail demand is not sufficient for the supply level, even though finished pig numbers are not large. Export markets also seem reasonably subdued; prices offered by China are reportedly lower than the European price level.

Declining pig prices were a feature of nearly all member states. In the four weeks to 26 April, average reference prices have moved as follows:

  • Germany: -€10.79 to €184.51/100kg
  • Spain: -€9.05 to €178.84/100kg
  • Denmark: -€7.17 to €194.81/100kg
  • Netherlands: -€5.62 to €167.56/100kg
  • France: -€4.00 to €163.00/100kg

Italy does not publish a reference price. However, the national 160/176kg live price has dropped €20 in the four weeks to 1 May, to €120/100kg. The situation is reportedly very bad, with many closed processing facilities disrupting the marketing chain, particularly for hams.

At the same time, the UK price (which is no longer included in the EU average) has risen in euro terms, with the strengthening pound boosting a modest increase in sterling prices. As a result, while EU prices were €10 above the UK in mid-March, the UK is now at a premium, by over €9.

Bethan Wilkins

Senior Analyst - Red Meat

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