The average price paid for grade E pig prices in Ireland for the week ending May 16th was 171.86c/kg. This is an increase of 5c/kg (3.2%) on the same week last year with prices currently sitting above the EU Grade E price, which has seen a further drop, reducing to €1.58/kg.
Prices have fallen by around 18c/kg in the past 3 months, with European prices also showing an even greater decline in that time.
Despite some easing of lockdown measures over the past few weeks, the market for pigs has become increasingly challenging. The latest EU pigmeat average reference price has dropped to its lowest level since last August. Reports indicate demand is difficult both on the domestic and export markets, even though pig supplies are not particularly large.
Despite falls in EU and Irish prices over the past number of weeks, The EU Commission in their latest short term outlook expect that EU pigmeat prices should remain less exposed compared to other meat proteins reflecting strong International demand. Chinese pigmeat production is forecast by Gira to reach around 21.75 million tonnes this year or 58% lower compared to 2018 levels.
In the US, pig supplies are returning to more normal levels at around 373,000 head processed per day last week. The low point for the US industry came on the 29th April when only 266,000 pigs were processed. However, this is still well behind the capacity of around 485,000 pigs processed per day.
Demand for pigmeat is mixed in Ireland at the moment, the best trade reported is for products such as ham fillets, pork, bacon backs and sausage meat. While recent fine weather conditions has helped maintain strong demand levels for sliced cooked meats.
A total of 65,277 pigs were sent for processing during the week ending May 16th 2020. This was an increase of over 14,000 pigs in the throughput figure compared to last week, as processing factories returned to normal capacity. So far for 2020, pig throughput levels are currently running slightly above 2019 levels, with 1,308,361 pigs sent for processing in the Republic so far this year. This is less than a 1% increase in the throughput figure compared the first 20 weeks of this year, increasing by 700 head.
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