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French and Spanish Pig Prices Bucking the Trend?

6 March 2012, at 5:04pm

ANALYSIS - Pig prices in France and Spain in recent weeks have been bucking the trend and in the last week in particular, they have shown a significant rise according to figures released by the German price tracker ISN, writes ThePigSite editor in chief, Chris Harris.

Last week, while ISN were showing prices for most of the rest of Europe hovering between €1.5 and €1.55 per kg France had their prices at €1.71 and Spain at €1.70.

ISN said the prices were up by five Euro cents per kilo in Spain and six Euro cents in France. This is the largest quotation for France since the change over to the Euro.

ISN put it down to a scarce supply of pork and strong world demand.

However, while the price rises might at first appear significant, the increases in France and Spain might not be quite as dramatic as they seem.

According to the Market Intelligent Unit at the UK's Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board, of which the British Pig Executive is a part, the reference prices across the EU including France and Spain are fairly similar. The average is about €1.60 for the reference price and France and Spain were coming in at about €1.55.

£The French prices were below the EU average of E grade pigs," said Stephen Howarth from the market intelligence unit.

However, he said there has been a noticeable increase in prices for both France and Spain. The differences in the prices have been put down not only to supply issues but also to the fact that France and Spain have different products from much of the rest of Europe. France, for instance, has heavier pigs, sending them for slaughter at around 116kg compared to the UK, which is much lighter at just over 100kg slaughter weight.

However, supply issues are the main driver for higher prices, although Mr Howarth said that France and Spain could have also taken a little longer to react to market forces than other EU countries.

In the Breton market last week, supplies were down by 10 per cent on the same time a year ago.