Stronger domestic and export demand boosts EU pig prices
3rd Jun 2020 / By Alistair Driver
Improving domestic and export trade has resulted in a slight upturn in EU pig prices, following weeks of decline since early March.
The EU average price increased by just over €1 on the week, to stand at €159.42/100kg in the week ended May. Following the previous week’s low, this was still the lowest price since April 2019 and €15 lower than the equivalent week last year, AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins said.
“The slight upturn comes as European market reports indicate an improvement in both national and international meat sales,” she said.
“Underlying Asian demand remains strong, and some EU catering outlets are now reopening. Nonetheless, much of the continent still reports difficulties with backlogs of pigs, and with ongoing uncertainty around coronavirus developments, the market remains finely balanced.
“Further price increases can’t be guaranteed soon, and will partly depend on how management of COVID-19 fares over the coming weeks.”
Up to mid-May, prices has been plummeting across the EU – in contrast to the UK, where prices have continued to inch up – but the week ended May 24 showed improvement in some major pork producers.
EU Reference Prices (p/kg) March 22 May 17 May 24
EU (exc UK) 172.20 139.60 142.53
Germany 180.37 146.40 150.95
Netherlands 160.87 123.89 126.48
Denmark 184.57 158.48 159.71
Spain 174.68 143.25 142.03
Poland 166.89 123.90 133.29
UK 162.39 164.80 164.68
Prices movements in the latest week were varied between the major producing states, with the largest rise was in Poland, but prices in Germany also increased, which is significant as the German price is particularly influential, and may support some other countries in the coming week, Ms Wilkins said. Elsewhere prices were still falling, particularly in Spain.
There have been reports of an influx of cheap pork products into the UK from the likes of Spain, Germany and Belgium, particularly into Smithfield market, according to NPA chief executive Zoe Davies. The NPA has responded by urging consumers to ‘Make it British Pork’ to highlight the issue and encourage people to actively seek out British pork.
Ms Wilkins said the current differential is not historically large, however. “With UK prices falling in euro terms, due to the weakening pound, the premium over the EU average fell to €24.78 in the latest week,” she said.
“This is still large in comparison to four weeks ago, when it was just €9, and of course, EU prices were above the UK for much of last year. However, in historic terms the price differential is not particularly large. Between 2014 and 2018, the difference between UK and EU pig prices was €25 on average.”