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NPA says Brexit stockpiling has held back UK pig prices

According to a recent report, Brexit stockpiling has prevented British producers from the benefit of the current "global pork price uplift".

22 April 2019, at 4:00pm

Alistair Driver, political editor, NPA, reports that the standard pig price (SPP) has finally risen after some disappointing weeks for UK producers. When every other market was seemingly benefiting from China's pork supply crisis, UK producers were suffering weak prices but finally a reprieve has come in the form of prices rising by 0.64p to average 138.31p/kg.

According to the NPA report, the EU reference price increased by ~20p/kg from 1 February to 8 April, when it reached 136.12p/kg, just 2p below the UK reference price, meaning UK pork products are currently cheaper than EU equivalents.

Speaking to the NPA, AHDB analyst Bethan Wilkins explained why the recent "unusual" price trends have been observed:

"Reports indicate large volumes of pork were stockpiled in preparation for a potential no-deal Brexit on March 29. The industry will need to work through these stocks until demand can rise.

"In addition, earlier factory breakdowns resulted in a high kill rate over the past two weeks. This temporary boost to supply has probably also depressed the market somewhat. If more pigs go out of spec due to delays in marketing, this can also lower the average pig price.

"In contrast, reports indicate that EU pig supplies have tightened lately, reflecting the decline in the breeding herd last year. This would help support prices at a time when demand is rising."

Wilkins predicts that the UK market will soon see positive price trends. Read the full report online.