Producer anger over ‘dismal’ pig price        


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

May 7, 2019


Pig producers have expressed anger at the ‘dismal’ UK pig prices currently being paid at a time when the global pork market is being buoyed by higher demand from China.


The Standard Pig Price (SPP) started inching up during April, reaching just short of 140p/kg towards the end of April. The price remains around 6p below a year ago and the increases seen in April pale into insignificance in comparison to what is happening in the EU.


EU exports to China, fuelled by China’s African swine fever crisis, were up 16% year-on-year in February and the extra demand has helped add 30p to the EU reference since early February – it stood at just short of 146p/kg in late-April. Most major producers have seen massive hikes over that period, including Germany (122p/kg to 153p/kg), the Netherlands (106p/kg to 138p/kg) and Denmark (110p/kg to 136/kg).


Yet, despite a 40% year-on-year hike in UK pork exports to China, the UK price remains where it was in early February. The difference in pig price trends in the UK and major pig producing countries is highlighted in the AHDB graph (main picture).


Producers have been demanding answers.


Brexit stockpiling is partly to blame for the situation, according to AHDB. With EU prices now above the UK, an ‘unsustainable’ situation, AHDB analyst Duncan Wyatt said expects UK prices to ‘eventually catch up with EU price rises’.


“I would be amazed if we’re not working our way through what is store, but I could not say how soon inventories will fall. I understand that some weekly contributions in contracts are now going up, which should kick-start more of a rise in the SPP,” he said.


Pig World asked some of the UK’s leading processors to explain the situation, but they chose not to comment.


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