UK pig price continues to rise as SPP-APP gap disappears

Prices in Europe remain high, but have started to slip back
calendar icon 29 May 2023
clock icon 3 minute read

The UK pig price continues to rise - the Standard Pig Price (SPP) was for the 18 consecutive week last week - but, arguably the most notable element of AHDB's latest market update is the almost total erosion of the gap between the SPP and the All Pig Price (APP), according to a press release from the UK's National Pig Association.

The EU-spec SPP increased by a further 0.33p to reach 220.48p/kg during the week ended May 20, as tight supplies and strong EU prices continue to drive the price to new highs.

The latest rise follows the previous week’s increase of 0.62p, taking the price index above 220p/kg for the first time, and continues the unbroken upward movement this year. The SPP has gained more than 20p over the 18 consecutive weekly hikes, currently standing at 45.5p ahead of a year ago.

After the previous week’s increase of 0.29p, which left the difference at 0.56p, the APP, which includes premium pigs, increased by just 0.24p to 220.34p during the week ending May 6.

That meant the gap between the two price averages fell to below 0.2p. A year ago, it was 8p and as recently as early February, it was 5p. This suggests that, on average, premium pigs, such as outdoor-bred and free range, are now closely priced to Red Tractor pigs.

Prices in Europe remain high, but have started to slip back. After dropping by 1.53p the previous week, the EU reference price was down by a further 2.5p to 207.37 during the week ended May 14, with slight dips in most countries.

The gap between the EU and UK reference prices has therefore increased to its biggest margin for a while of 10.5p, albeit still well below typical levels last year of around 20p.

The latest AHDB net margin figures show pig producers lost, on average £1/pig during the first quarter of this year, the 10th consecutive quarter of losses, but an improvement on financial performance across 2022.

Prices have risen and costs have dipped further into Q2, however. London feed wheat quoted by AHDB at £170/tonne for July today. Other costs, including soya and energy, remain high.

Slaughterings continue to run massively below typical levels. AHDB estimated GB slaughterings for April were 93,100 head, nearly 13%, down on 2022 levels.

This is continuing into May. However, AHDB’s estimated GB slaughtering figure during the week ended May 20, at 158,591, was the highest since the last week of March, although it remains 22,000 below 2022 levels and 33,000 below the 2021 figure for the week.

Average carcase weights, which have been steady all year, at between 89 and 90kg, increased slightly to 89.58kg in the SPP sample in the week ended May 20, 1.5kg below year earlier levels, but 3kg above the more typical 2021 average for the week.

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