Optimistic Outlook for EU Pig Sector

EU - Pig meat in the EU production is expected to rise again this year, following the start of the recovery last year, driven by the low feed prices and a slightly higher breeding sow herd. The latest Short-Term Outlook for EU arable crops, dairy and meat markets in 2015 and 2016, shows the recovery in production continuing following seven years of decline.
calendar icon 16 July 2015
clock icon 4 minute read

Pig slaughtering rose by 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, despite depressed prices, which were 18 per cent below the 2010-2014 average at the start of the year.

The rise in slaughtering was thanks to an increase in the number of piglets at the end of 2014, where numbers rose by 2.5 per cent compared to 2013.

The rise in production was seen across the board in all EU countries, with Spain recording a growth of 11.7 per cent and Poland 6.6 per cent leading the way.

However, growth has also been recorded in all the major pig producing countries - Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK.

The growth in production in Poland comes as carcase weights fell in the first quarter of the year – down by 2.4 per cent - indicating a sharp rise in the number of piglets produced for slaughter.

In the main EU 15 states carcase weights rose by 1.2 per cent while in the remaining 13 new states carcase weights fell by 1.4 per cent, largely because of the fall in Poland.

The EU report says that despite the availability of cheap feed, a fall in prices for pig meat could see some producers failing to cover their costs. This in turn is expected to slow the rate of increase in production to 1.8 per cent across the EU for the remainder of the year, giving an overall increase in production of three per cent this year followed by a 0.9 per cent increase next year.

Pig meat exports for the EU are benefiting from the increased production, backed by lower meat prices, a weak Euro and strong demand from Asia.

In the first third of this year the EU report says that exports rose by four per cent with increased sales to Philippines, China, the US and Singapore.

The decline in production in South Korea because of foot and mouth disease and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) has increased the demand for imports by 30 per cent in the first five months of this year.

EU pig meat (class E) price, EUR/100 kg

In total, the EU has increased exports by 12 per cent this year. The report says this has more than compensated for the loss of the Russian market because of the ban imposed over sanctions against Russia for actions in Ukraine and sanitary measures against the EU over the presence of African swine fever in the northern Baltic States.

Russia is compensating for the loss of EU pig meat by encouraging an increase in domestic production and sourcing imports from Brazil.

However, an expected fall in supply in Brazil, reducing its presence on the Asian markets together with a weak Euro against the US dollar are making EU pig meat exports more competitive and eh EU outlook report expects to end the year with 140,000 tonnes more exported this year than last.

Next year, EU exports could continue rise because of higher production, an increased global demand and stable domestic consumption.

Prices have started to stabilise, following the hiatus at the beginning of the year when private storage was introduced. However, at an average of €153/kg carcase weight, prices are still below the 2010-2014 average.

Increased exports together with increased production are expected to keep prices level, with consumption across the EU also rising slightly.

Further Reading

You can view the full report by clicking here.

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