UK's Pig Prices Reach their Peak (June 2010)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in June 2010 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 8 June 2010
clock icon 5 minute read

UK pig prices have been reaching levels last seen in 1996 when there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Taiwan and the Dutch herd was suffering from outbreaks of swine fever, according to the latest edition of the Whole Hog.

It says that the disease outbreaks squeezed global and European supplies with the consequent knock on effect to pig prices.

However, the Whole Hog warns that the boom was followed by a bust in the years following.

The Whole Hog says that the global pig price cycle is gathering in strength.

Along with the rise in prices in the US that have been recorded recently, prices in Denmark and Canada are also on the move.

The Whole Hog says that the pig meat exporters' prices for the three are well above the long term trend, despite and slight drop in the US prices.

The upward pressure in the global export market has meant that the Danish prices, which led the way in Europe in May.

Only Denmark and Spain showed positive year on year price changes in May, the Whole Hog reports, while countries such as Ireland and Belgium had falls in prices of 8.2 per cent and 5.4 per cent.

Meanwhile the latest data from the Spanish census shows a fall in the Spanish pig herd - one of the largest in the EU - of four per cent.

The herd numbers fell despite a growth in the numbers of market pigs.

The Whole Hog says that the downward trend in the Spanish breeding herd will have consequences for the total EU production of pig meat.

Sows and Inventory Fall in North America

The Whole Hog reports that the latest census report for the breeding hers of USA and Canada show a further fall in year on year figures.

The total breeding herd for North America is 7.06 million head, down by four per cent on 2009 and by eight per cent on 2008.

The number of market hogs is also down - by three per cent to 68.6 million.

Despite the fall in breeding herd numbers, Canadian exports in the first quarter of the year were up by 4.3 per cent.

The Whole Hog says that live exports are down and the processing industry is continuing to rationalise, but pig meat exports are up, with 276,330 tonnes of pig meat sold out of Canada in the first quarter of the year.

Canadian imports are also up, by 13 per cent inn the year to 22 May.

However, the US's pork exports for the first quarter of the year are down by 4.3 per cent following a nine per cent decline through 2009.

The Whole Hog warns that as the US economy and dollar are seen as safe, it is going to be difficult to see how the US can improve on 2009 volumes.

The main fall for US exports was to Japan and South Korea which saw declines of 18 per cent and 28 per cent.

Trade Figures Show Australia's Appetite for Imports

Australian trade figures show a slowing down of the trade gap between pig meat imports and exports.

The March data show a decline in exports of 15.6 per cent and an increase in imports of 7.2 per cent.

The Whole Hog says that the trend of a fall in the numbers of domestically slaughtered pigs is also downwards despite a sharp rise in the latest figures.

While Denmark and Canada are making headway in the Japanese market, the Whole Hog reports that US exports for the first two months of the year are showing a sharp drop.

Danish exports to Japan rose by 17.4 per cent in the first two months of the year, while the US, Japan's largest supplier, saw a 21 per cent fall in exports.

Total imports of pig meat into South Korea are down by 1.4 per cent for the first four months of the year.

Danish, Spanish and French exports to South Korea fell by 20, 23 and eight per cent respectively, while sales of Chilean pork were up by 24 per cent and Canada's exports rose by two per cent.

The US also saw a fall in exports to South Korea of 23 per cent year on year, the Whole Hog says.

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