Figures presented to the European Commission suggest that EU pig meat production will be around 2 percent lower in 2013 than in the previous year, according to BPEX. This is a smaller decrease than the 3 percent indicated by previous forecasts.
This is partly because pig production had already fallen more sharply than expected in the second half of 2012, precipitating significant price increases across the EU. However, there is still considerable uncertainty about the forecasts, particularly for the second half of the year, as the impact of animal welfare changes is unclear.
At the same meeting, the prospects for future pig prices also were discussed. The general view was that there was unlikely to be a repeat of the sort of dramatic price rises seen last year. Nevertheless, prices are expected to remain high, probably increasing as the year progresses.
The ongoing economic crisis is having an impact on consumer demand in the EU, limiting any upward pressure on prices. At the same time, export markets are proving more difficult this year, with the weak yen affecting shipments to Japan and higher production in Russia and China limiting opportunities there.