EU sow prices stay under pressure

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

European finished pig prices have been far less stable than those in the UK since the coronavirus outbreak, and are now lower than UK prices by around 19p/kg. However, when it comes to sow prices, with a small market for sow meat here, UK prices are more closely tied to developments on the continent.

Like the finished pig market, EU sow prices have come under significant pressure recently. They are now significantly lower than the beginning of the year on the back of reported lower demand, and a build-up of product in cold storage.

The main German M1 price was €1.07/kg in the week ended 14 June, a level not seen since March last year. Danish prices have seen similar falls, with the latest prices at €0.85/kg in the same week. What is normally a two-speed market for sows in Europe is now much less differentiated, with the latest prices in France and the Netherlands at €0.97/kg and €1.11/kg respectively.

Emptying cold storage volumes continues to be difficult, although exports to China had been reported to be flowing well, and volumes moving in that direction have been impressive. However, the ongoing interruption in exports to China from an important Tonnies plant in Germany is a setback. The tentative pace of the European foodservice markets reopening will also continue to bring challenges.

As such, as Europe is overwhelmingly the main market for British sows, prices may continue to struggle for some time.

Duncan Wyatt

Lead Analyst - Red Meat

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