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Genesus Global Market Report: France - May 2019

Genesus provides the latest update on the market situation in France.

1 June 2019, at 9:30am

Hog market: the price increase continues

The rise in prices started in early March continues in France and in European countries, following African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in China and Asia, important producers and consumers of pork.

Over the last 2 months (from 21 March to 23 May) the hog price has increased by 15 percent from 1,283 € to 1,472 € per kg carcass, a gain of about 18 € (20,14 US $) per head.

Over this period, same observation with the price of the piglets: + 27 percent for 8 kg weaned piglet with a price of 29.15 € (32,6 US $) per head and + 34 percent for a 25 kg piglet (2,07 US $ € per kg liveweight instead of 1.54 $ in March).

No exception with culling sow price who is at 1.033 € (1,156 US $) per kg, an increase of 31 percent compared to the end of March.

This price increase should continue and prices could reach record levels, while remaining at high levels for at least two years; the time that China is recovering from the brutal liquidation of its breeding stock and a decline in production estimated between 25 and 35 percent according to Rabobank. Good prospects for hog producers!

And in the other European countries? Same scenario:

Packing plants struggle to pass on price increases to retailers

While pig producers are benefiting from the prices improvement, french packing plants seem to have difficulty by increasing their prices to big retailers and supermarkets. FICT (Fédération Française des Industriels Charcutiers Traiteurs) has sensitised big stores to renegotiation of tariffs to cope with increase of pork. Some stores would seem ready.

Animal welfare and extremism

The swine industry and the world of animal husbandry in general are more and more the target of associations promoting animal welfare.

  • April 2019, a hundred animal welfare activists were blocking the slaughterplant in Riudellots de la Selva in Spain.
  • Mid-May, a pig farm in the South-East of Netherlands is invaded by non-species-ist militants.
  • Closer to us in recent weeks, videos directed to manipulate public opinion were filmed in some pig farms in Brittany, by people wanting denounce (destroy) livestock production.

Of course, in all these cases, respect for private property, respect for the veracity of the information and respect for biosecurity rules are violated.

Apart from these few examples of violent and extremist actions, the notion of animal welfare is increasingly a consumer concern.

French swine industry has introduced several points concerning animal welfare in the new specification of the brand “Le Porc Français” (pork produced and slaughtered in France).

Moreover, some packing plants have already recently put in place production systems putting more emphasis on animal welfare: "welfare pens for sows in lactation", "natural light", etc. Some other companies are working on it.

The market is evolving as consumer expectations evolve, and the hog industry will once again have to adapt.

Question: will production costs be passed on to packing plant and retailers? Let us hope it for our pig producers!