GB finished pig prices continue to move down

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

By Felicity Rusk

The EU-spec SPP continued to move down in the week ending 10 October. The price dropped back by 0.42p to average 157.81p/kg. This puts prices just 2.04p above the same week last year. Pressure on prices on the continent have continued to weigh in on domestic prices.

Estimated slaughter topped the 200k mark for the second week in a row. Throughputs were estimated at 201,300 head, 2,800 head (-1.4%) less than in the previous week. This was also 12% higher than year earlier levels, the equivalent to around 21,500 head. Despite reports of high throughputs, industry reports suggest that there are some challenges with rolled pigs due to COVID-19 and plant breakdowns. As such, large domestic supplies relative to available capacity may also be contributing to the downwards pressure on pig prices.

These weekly slaughter estimates may be subject to revision when the Defra slaughter figures are released (15 October). The proportion of the total kill captured by the SPP sample can vary somewhat between months and it may be that our current estimates are on the high side.

The average carcase weights stood at 86.79kg, 60g less than in the previous week. Nevertheless, average carcase weights remain high, with weights up 2.18kg compared to the same week in the previous year.

On Monday, the Government announced a new three-tier system for England, which comes into force today (14 October). Each tier has varying rules regarding the foodservice sector:

  • Medium - All pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality venues in England permitted to operate must close by 10pm GMT. Table bookings limited to a maximum of six.
  • High - As above, and people from different households are not allowed to mix indoors, including pubs or restaurants.
  • Very high - Foodservice outlets cannot open unless they “operate as if they were a restaurant” and serve “substantial meals”. Alcohol can only be served part of those meals.

These represent the minimum rules for each tier, and so regional councils may introduce additional measures to control the spread of the virus within their area. As such, with different rules now in place for different parts of the country, it is very challenging to predict what impact this is going to have on foodservice demand. However, we are likely to see some regional challenges with this new system in place.

In the week ending 3 October, the EU-spec APP also recorded a significant drop compared to the previous week. The measure dropped back by 1.24p/kg, the largest week-on-week recorded since January 2019. The SPP also dropped back in the same week, which resulted in the difference between the two measures widening to 3.81p.

Weaner prices also dropped back in the week ending 10 October. Prices for 7kg weaners averaged £40.27/head, almost £1 less than in the previous week. Meanwhile, prices for 30kg stores was reported at £56.69/head, over £6 less then when the price was last reported two week previously. Reports suggest that the feed prices could be contributing to some reluctance in purchasing stores.

Felicity Rusk

Analyst - Livestock

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