The Dealer hears that the pig sector has received a much-needed boost in recent days. While an increase in production combined with sluggish global demand has seen stocks of pig meat building, I understand that China has become increasingly active in the market over the past weekend.

One informed source reported that such was the hunger there for product that deals struck in recent days have effectively cleared the decks of any overhang in the market. Perhaps even more positive is that this heightened demand is forecast to be maintained for the foreseeable future.

Unprecedented demand

This comes on the back of buoyant reports from the SIAL trade show in Shanghai last week, where the UK levy board, AHDB, reported that because of “the unique market conditions in China and unprecedented demand, business can only be described as frantic.”

They also reported that the wholesale price of Chinese pig carcases was 26.51 yuan, the equivalent of €3.57c/kg. Such a price would look like a lottery win to an Irish pig farmer and there is concern in China that the price is overheating and increasing production there could cause a downward turn later. In the meantime, it clearly has the potential to be a game changing market for EU pigmeat stocks.

Pig prices in Ireland hit the bottom in March this year at €1.32c/kg. There was a modest recovery during April and prices have been at €1.36c/kg for the past few weeks, rising to €1.42c/kg in the last week. This is still a long way short of the €1.60c/kg estimated by Teagasc to get pig production into profit.

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