Weak demand lowering EU pig prices - AHDB

Input cost inflation pressuring markets
calendar icon 8 September 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Since hitting a record high of 215.47p/kg in the second last week of July, EU pig reference prices have been in steady decline, losing just over 12p/kg in four weeks, reported Freya Shuttleworth of the UK's Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).

Shuttleworth attributes much of the decline to easing demand, even as slaughter numbers remain low. Unfavourable weather in some regions likely limited the BBQ market, she said. 

Higher pig prices have also been driving up the unit value of exported product. "This is a return to more normal trends that we have seen over the last couple of years, with the price difference in recent months trending at historical lows," Shuttleworth said. 

The rate of decline has been mixed across the continent. The largest price decline was recorded in Poland, where prices fell by 20.7p over the period (23 July–20 August). Polish pig prices have been falling for seven consecutive weeks having peaked in early July. 

Meanwhile, Danish pig prices have been relatively flat since the beginning of June. Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands have all lost between 10–15p/kg in the four weeks ending 20 August, with the most significant changes being recorded in the final week. Spain has seen slightly smaller movements, with prices moving downwards just shy of 8p in the last four weeks – over 4p of this occurred in the most recent week.

According to Shuttleworth, European pig farmers are facing financial pressures due to skyrocketing input cost inflation. Costs have eased in recent months, she said, however, they are likely to remain historically high as the global economy continues to recover. Processors are also facing inflationary costs, which has led to lower kill volumes and tightened margins. In some case, this has led to restructuring, including the closure of processing facilities. 

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