News 3386 views last update:Feb 25, 2016

Pig prices drop severely in Germany, Netherlands

Pig prices in Germany and the Netherlands are decreasing severely due to the Russian ban on European pork. Russia decided to block EU imports after African Swine Fever (ASF) had been detected in Lithuania.

By the end of last week, the German slaughterhouses Tönnies and Vion Nord decreased their pig prices by €0.05 to €1.54/kg. It is expected Dutch meatpacker Vion will follow this week.

The Russian ban came at an unfortunate moment, as pig prices had been recovering from a dip at the end of last year. Pork producers need the price rise to compensate for losses over the last months.

Russia has been the EU's most important importer. Last year, until November, over 700,000 tonnes of pork were imported – about 25% of the total export. For these amounts, European pork producers will have to find other destinations. In case this fails, the meat will end up in refrigerators for release on the market on a later stage. Being frozen, the meat will continue to block a price rise.

Russia also announced to open up its borders for US pork, on the condition that it is free from the antimicrobial growth promoter ractopamine. US pork has been banned from entering the Russian market as from September for this reason.

The European pork sector hopes Russia will soon soften its attitude. Veterinary inspectors, investigating the ASF situation in Lithuania, will present their conclusions later this week. On the basis of this advice, the Russian authorities will decide whether or not the import ban will apply to the whole of the EU or only to Lithuania.

Should Russia maintain its import ban, then the US and Brazil will most likely fill the gap.

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