Pig Price Cycle Turns Down (June 2009)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in June 2009 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 12 June 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The Whole Hog price cycle index shows that global pig prices have hit the turning point.

Prices have started to turn down, about six weeks ahead of the normal turn.

The Whole Hog says that there has been a dramatic change since March April.

Over the next few months, the Whole Hog will be attempting to predict the length of the downturn and highlighting the pointers that will indicate prices starting to go up again.

In the UK, the Whole Hog shows that pig numbers have again fallen.

The total number of pigs at the end of December last year was 4.55 million head, 2.6 per cent down on December 2007 and 3.8 per cent down on December 2006.

The latest figures for the whole of the EU 27 show a 4.4 per cent fall in pig numbers, down to 152.947 million head.

Only Greece, the Netherlands and France managed to see their pig herds grow over the last year and the Whole Hog shows that not only did the pig herd fall but pig production numbers were also down, particularly in Eastern European Countries.

Polish Herd Contracts but Signs of Revival

The Whole Hog reports that Polish pig numbers were down to 1.287 million in March this year - 15 .3 per cent down on the previous year and the lowest number since June 1964.

With pig numbers down and higher prices being asked for imported pig meat, prices in Poland are on the rise. The upward pressure on prices is also being affected by the exchange rates between the zloty and the Euro.

The trend for European pig prices has been downward, with only Germany and Spain reporting prices above the EU average.

However, the Whole Hog shows that away from the Euro Zone, prices in countries such as the Czech Republic and Hungary, like Poland, were on the rise.

Canadian Pig Meat Exports Rise

For the first three months of the year, pig meat exports from Canada rose by nearly one per cent to 263,980 tonnes, with New Zealand, Taiwan and Australia showing large percentage gains in volume.

However, the Whole Hog says that the US and Japan remain the main markets for Canada and these showed rises in the amount they imported of 2.9 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.

Similarly, US exports of pig meat are also on the rise with the March figures for cuts and variety meats reaching 167,596 tonnes - up by 18 per cent on March 2008 and 11.1 per cent on February. For the first quarter of the year US pig meat exports are 8.4 per cent higher than last year.

Gap Widens Between Australian Imports and Exports

Australian pig meat exports for February this year were down by 11.4 per cent on February 2007 at 3,041 tonnes.

At the same time Australian imports continue to rise, with the Whole Hog showing a year-on-year rise of 29 per cent for February to10,592 tonnes.

The US, Canada and Denmark supply most of the Australian imports with 99.2 per cent.

Figures from Japan show a small annual rise of 0.5 per cent in pig meat imports. However, the 56,845 tonnes shipped in was 7.3 per cent down on January's figures.

South Korea saw imports fall by 23.6 per cent in March compared to last year, despite being 11.8 per cent up on February.

Overall South Korean imports of pig meat this year are down by 22.8 per cent.

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