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EU pig prices 2019: an exceptional year for European pork producers

ISN provides their annual rundown of how EU pig prices performed. 2019 was an unusual year for the European market, dominated by African swine fever.

4 January 2020, at 10:30am

In retrospect, the average prices were significantly higher than the previous year, reports ISN. In the Netherlands and Denmark, the annual average price was 23 percent above the 2018 average, and in Germany and France, prices increased by 22 percent and 21 percent respectively in 2019. With an average price of EUR 1.78/kg, the Spanish listing was at the top of the ranking of the top five largest pig-producing EU countries.

Prices for slaughter pigs in Europe started slowly in 2019: the Netherlands and Denmark came in last out of the top five pig-producing EU countries, with a price of around EUR 1.24/kg. Prices remained stable and unchanged for some months but with the rapid deterioration of China's pig herd due to African swine fever (ASF), demand for imported European pork boomed and prices improved.

By mid-March, most European pig producers were starting to feel the benefit of the sudden increased demand from overseas and a declining European pig herd only increased prices further.

The so-called summer slump put pressure on the north and north-west of Europe at times during the summer holiday season.

In the autumn, the annual, seasonal drop in prices ultimately failed to materialise and in November, prices rose again. The flourishing export to Asia had even helped the Danish price to reach a new high for the year from October, contrary to the trend in other EU countries. Spanish prices, which generally fall sharply in autumn due to holidaymakers leaving, fell significantly less than in previous years.

Shortly before Christmas, many quotes fell as a result of current price pressures though end-of-year averages still reached record highs.