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Pig prices stable amid market uncertainty

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

The EU-spec SPP was steady in the week ending 21 March, losing 0.07p to average 163.15p/kg. To say demand in the UK has been unsettled would be an understatement. Responses put in place to battle the coronavirus have led eating out volumes to drop dramatically, while retail purchases have risen sharply.

However, spot prices are reportedly strong at the moment, with some putting them at 170p/kg or more. As well as any short-term clamour for British pork in the retail sector, it may also be re-opening Chinese ports, backed by plentiful import demand, that is behind this strength.

Although concerns remain about processors’ continued ability to operate, the factories seem to be coping well. There are no reports of major interruptions despite some reported labour shortages.

Estimated slaughter in the week was 185,100 head, nearly 6,000 higher than last week and 14% higher than a year ago. Carcase weights fell slightly to 85.70kg. It seems likely animals were brought forward to meet demand and ease the consequences of potential future disruption.

In the week ending 14 March, the EU-spec APP averaged 165.26p/kg, 0.1p lower than in the previous week.

In the week ending 21 March, 7kg weaner prices rose by 32p on the week to average £42.57/head. Prices are now over £7 higher than last year’s prices. Unfortunately, there was insufficient data available to produce a 30kg weaner price this week.

Duncan Wyatt

Lead Analyst - Red Meat

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