Positive sentiment, however, is not restricted to the UK, and surveys conducted in the second quarter of 2009 in other European countries reveal an increase in herd numbers and growing optimism.

In Denmark and the Netherlands, for example, the prospects for the pig industry this year remain positive, with Danish production costs expected to fall. Economists are predicting a positive net margin of just over Euro 5 per pig for Denmark’s producers.

The Dutch herd is forecast to expand by one or two percent during 2010 to meet the expected rise in local consumption and higher demand for live pigs from Poland and Romania.

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“Stable supplies,” are forecast by market analyst Karsten Flemin, across the EU this year, with, overall, a slight rise in supply and demand.

“The big question will be what happens to the exchange rate market, especially regarding the value of the US dollar and Sterling. I am hoping that values will be more stable during 2010 and that we will see improved trading conditions."