Weaner prices in the EU are getting back to normal
Weaner prices in the EU market have got back to levels recorded before the rush on China's ASF crisis has started. The average price in the single market is now at €36/head, the lowest level recorded since November 2018. Although exports to China are still significant for countries such as Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands, the double impact of ASF in Germany and COVID-19 crisis has pushed the average price for weaners €5 below the 5-year average for the time of year.
"A significant weakening of the finished pig market has discouraged the demand for weaners at a time of year when prices are already often falling. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted pork demand across the EU. More recently, Germany’s ASF outbreak has brought a new wave of downward price pressure, with the pork that would have been exported to China now trading on the EU market. Reports also indicate some countries, particularly Germany, have developed a backlog of market-ready pigs due to constrained processing capacity. This may also dampen the weaner market if space on fattening farms is limited," explained Bethan Wilkins, senior analyst at AHDB.
Prices had been picking up in Denmark in early September, but this small increase has since been lost and prices are now around €56/head, the lowest level since May 2019. Denmark supplies a significant number of weaners to Germany for finishing and demand for these pigs would be expected to fall now pork from Germany faces limited export prospects. "Weaner prices in Germany itself have fallen to just €31/head in the latest week, the lowest price since 2007," she added.
In countries such as Spain and Italy, weaner prices are more stable, with Spanish prices similar to late July while Italian prices have actually increased by €4 over the same period. "Strong trade with China is supporting the Spanish market, though the outlook for Italian prices, as a significant pig meat importer from Germany, looks more uncertain," believes Ms Wilkins.
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