Wednesday, 3 November 2021
By Bethan Wilkins
As has been the case since June, the EU average pig reference price continued to fall into October. In the latest week ended 24 October prices stood at €129.44/100kg, the lowest figure since February and over 20% lower than the peak in June. The current price levels are particularly weak, standing 16% lower than the five-year average for the time of year.
The latest census results from the summer did not indicate that a significant tightening in EU pig numbers is imminent, and market reports continue to suggest that the number pigs available exceeds buying interest. The previously strong Chinese export market has cooled, leaving more pork to be traded domestically where demand remains sluggish. Without some stimulus from the export market, it is difficult to see the situation changing significantly in the short to medium term.
Recently, Danish prices have been relatively stable compared to other Member States, however prices fell more sharply earlier in the season. The UK has not seen prices fall at the same rate as the rest of the EU across the second half of the year, and so the gap between UK and EU average pig prices has widened significantly. The latest difference for the week ended 24 October was nearly €48/100kg, more than double the typical level. This represents a difficulty for the price-competitiveness of British product, and so UK prices would be expected to come under more pressure in the coming weeks.
In contrast, prices in Spain have continued to fall more than the overall EU average, dropping by 10% in the latest 4-week period. The latest average for the week ended 24 October is €130/100kg, a sharp contrast to the €190/100kg figure achieved during the summer peak. Spain is a key exporter to non-EU destinations, and this highlights the impact of the weakening Chinese market.
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