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Demand remains rather like the weather... miserable

7th Dec 2018 / By Peter Crichton

Probably the only slightly positive note is that the influential German producer price has stood on for the ninth week running at €1.36, which in sterling terms is a depressing 121p.

Unfortunately the SPP continues on its downward track, losing another 0.23p this week to stand at 143.29p.

The spot market is not for the faint hearted with very little space available and reports of some quotes at less than 130p in places which compares with 145p a year ago but with poor fresh meat demand there are very few takers for extra spot pigs and contract numbers are also being held in check.

Weekly contribution prices are also under pressure and were generally in the 129-134p range which is around 11p less than the SPP.

Cull sow prices have remained at similar bargain basement levels with quotes in the 62-64p range and no help on the currency front with the Euro trading at 89.24p on Friday which is little changed from its value a week ago.

With Christmas just around the corner cull sow space will soon become scarce until the holiday break is over but there are no real signs of any recovery in cull sow prices until the New Year is well behind us.

The latest weaner prices also make depressing reading with the AHDB 30kg average quoted for the first time for four weeks at £43.50/head compared with £47.54 in late October. The latest 7kg AHDB average is also on the wane quoted at £36.50 which is a drop of £1.66 on the week.

Finisher space is at a premium and this has developed into very much a buyer’s market with talk of 30kg spot weaners traded as low as £30 in places.

Reports of an upturn in finished pig prices would work wonders as far as weaner values are concerned, but currently there are few signs of this on the horizon, although there could be a shortage of UK pig availability in 6-8 weeks’ time following on from summer infertility and disease problems ……we shall see.

On the feed price front, 48% soya traded ex Liverpool saw little change at £321/t and 34% rape meal ex Kent has also held at similar levels in the £211/t region.

The futures market ended another relatively quiet week with London feed wheat quoted at £171.10 for January and a £177.70 for July but longer months saw November 2019 traded at £159.65. This trend is reflected by global grain markets where grain prices moved sideways last week followed by slight rises in US markets due to the possible prospects of a settlement of the tariff dispute with China.

And finally, more worries on the African Swine Fever front with latest reports indicating that 21 Chinese provinces have reported outbreaks, with a major 10,000 pig farm recently being slaughtered out in the Beijing area, and concerns remain as far as the Belgian ASF outbreak which is much closer to home and could cause untold havoc to our pig industry which is already under financial pressure.

DEFRA are aware of the problem and have recently been publishing more advice on how to identify and report any ASF outbreaks which may arise including fever, loss of appetite, lack of energy and sudden death and some of us may feel like that at present!