EU pig prices rise sharply

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

By Bethan Wilkins

Pig prices in the EU have risen sharply over the past few weeks, following a period of relative stability. The latest average pig price, for week ended 21 March, was €155.19/100kg, €24 higher than four weeks before. The recorded price is the highest since last July and in contrast to earlier in the year, is not an unusually low figure.

Nonetheless, recent reports indicate that demand on the continent has stagnated. Much of the recent increase has likely been induced by a tighter live pig supply, as previous backlogs were cleared. With this difficulty resolved, further price growth has become more difficult. The German market is a major signpost for trends to come in the overall EU price. For the past few weeks, the VEZG recommended price for German pigs has been stable, suggesting recorded growth in average prices may ultimately stall in the coming weeks.

In sterling terms, the rise in EU prices has been moderated slightly by the strengthening of the pound against the euro. The latest price is equivalent to 133.07p/kg, 19p up on four weeks earlier. The gap between the EU and UK price has declined significantly, to just 8p/kg (week ending 21 March), having been nearly 26p just four weeks earlier. The latest difference is the smallest since April 2020 and could perhaps support prices here in Britain by reducing the potential for pressure from imported pork.

The rise in EU pig prices has largely been driven by increases seen in German and Dutch prices. Both these countries face declining pig herds, so this is perhaps not surprising. Spanish quotes have also risen strongly, driven by export trade with China. Although French and Danish prices have also increased, these rises were more modest than those in other member states.

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