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German pig prices up again

German pig prices up again

German pig prices have risen again as sales inside the EU help markets recover from Asian import bans on German pork, traders and industry sources said on Wednesday.

German pig prices on March 3 rose to 1.40 euros a kg slaughter weight from 1.30 euros the previous week, said the association of German animal farmers VEZG.

Prices in mid-February rose to 1.21 euros as markets recovered following import bans on German pork after African swine fever (ASF) was found in the country and after reduced slaughterhouse capacity following coronavirus outbreaks.

China and other Asian countries banned German pork imports in September 2020 after ASF was found in a wild boar in east Germany, not a farm animal, causing falling pig prices.

This led to trade displacement, with other EU countries raising exports to China, while German sales to Europe increased.

“There is a good volume of sales of German pork to elsewhere in the EU as exports by other European countries to China and elsewhere in Asia rise,” one trader said. “Spain and Denmark seem to be making large sales to Asia after Germany was pushed out of the market and Germany is filling up the gaps in Europe.”

Reduced German slaughterhouse capacity also caused pigs to be kept on farms longer than needed in past months, making them too big for standardized slaughtering.

German abattoirs and meat-packing plants became COVID-19 hot spots last year, causing a major industry shakeup with improved health standards, which also cut slaughterhouse capacity. But capacity is recovering.

“Slaughter pigs are being sought strongly by abattoirs,” the association said. “The available supply is looking tight and is only just able to meet demand.”

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