Meat & Livestock News

Stability on the Horizon for GB Pig Prices After Recent Downturn


  • GB pig prices have shown signs of stabilisation in March after a downward trend in the early months of 2024.
  • A decrease in clean pig kill suggests a tightening supply, potentially supporting prices in the near term.
  • The gap between EU/UK pig prices narrows, offering hope for price support as key EU nations see price increases.

In the first two months of 2024, Great Britain’s pig prices have experienced a downward trajectory, with the EU spec Standard Pig Price (SPP) averaging at 211.32p/kg in February, marking a slight decrease from January’s average. Despite this, prices remain nearly 4p/kg higher than the same period last year. 

Notably, the trend wasn’t uniformly negative throughout February, with minor positive adjustments observed in the second and third weeks, counterbalanced by larger declines in the first and fourth weeks. However, a modest weekly increase of 0.16p/kg by the week ending 9 March suggests a potential stabilisation in prices moving into March.

February’s clean pig kill figures from Defra indicate a decrease to 765,600 head, an 8% drop from January and a 1% decline year-on-year. This reduction in supply, from an already constrained base, is expected to bolster prices if demand remains consistent.

The beginning of the year often sees fluctuating demand as consumers adjust their spending post-New Year’s resolutions, focusing on savings and health. Retail pork purchase volumes have slightly declined by 1.4% year-on-year in the 12 weeks leading to 18 February, despite a 6.8% increase in average prices, as reported by Kantar.

Looking ahead, the industry is optimistic about the upcoming summer BBQ season, hoping for improved weather to boost demand. January’s trade data from HMRC reveals a 3% year-on-year increase in pigmeat imports, totalling 63,500 tonnes, though this is still a 6% decrease compared to 2022 levels. 

Exports have been subdued, with January volumes falling 8% from the previous year. The narrowing price differential between the EU and the UK, now less than 24p/kg due to recent upticks in key EU nations’ prices, could further support UK pig pricing in the forthcoming weeks.

This nuanced picture of the GB pig market, with its recent price movements, supply constraints, and international trade dynamics, suggests a cautious optimism for stabilisation and potential support for prices as the industry navigates through 2024.