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2. Exports lead the way

Pig prices in most EU markets began to recover during the spring period. Despite a higher supply of pig meat within the EU, good demand within some of the key export markets in Third Countries helped strengthen overall demand. Pig numbers remained stable in Denmark, but exports of weaners continued to increase.

Pig prices began to rise as the 1st Quarter of 2015 drew to a close. The pattern varied across the different EU markets and in the UK market, potential price increases were constrained by the strength of the £.

BPEX and others expressed the view that the EU Private Storage Scheme had little impact on the internal EU market. As reported by Global Meat News, the scheme closed at the end of April, with a modest 64,000 tonnes having been put into storage contracts – mainly in Denmark (15,250 tonnes) and Spain (13,750 tonnes).

Improving exports to Third Countries

However, EU exporters enjoyed good sales in China, South Korea and Australia during the 1st Quarter of 2015 and this played a significant part in mitigating the effects of increased supplies within the EU. The weakness of the € was a key factor in giving EU suppliers an edge.

Good demand for EU pig meat

It is expected that EU exporters, including Denmark, will enjoy a good level of sales in the coming months. Although US production of pigs is expanding again, there are already clear signs that production in China is declining – particularly among the large numbers of so-called ‘back-yard’ producers. Hopefully this factor will continue to help offset some of the loss of sales to the Russian market, which still remains closed to EU pig meat.

Danish pig herd stable

The April census showed little change in overall pig numbers in Denmark although there was a small increase in the number of breeding pigs. Pig slaughterings showed a modest rise during the 1st Quarter of 2015 – rising to 4.9m head from 4.8m head in 2015. However, exports of live pigs, especially piglets for finishing by producers in Germany and Poland, continued to rise, reaching 3m head in the 1st Quarter, compared to 2.7m head in the same period last year.

Breeding numbers up