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Disturbances in China, disturbances in Belgium. Spain still leads the price

Evolution of the pig price in Belgium since 2002

Evolution of the pig price in Belgium since 2002

The appearance of ASF in Belgium has entailed a real blow for the EU pig sector.

Tuesday 2 October 2018 (2 months 10 days ago)
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Follow the trickle of African swine fever (ASF) cases in The People's Republic of China. Pig333 has opened a section with all the news about this disease. Even without knowing the details and intimacies of the Animal Health Services of such a big country, we think that it will very difficult to contain this problem anytime soon. It would be convenient that the culled animals were paid fairly (it seems that this is not the case), and a strict discipline would be necessary, as well as great doses of motivation. We fear that this pandemic will last for some time.

China is, by far, the first producer in the world, and therefore all that happens in China has a great importance. We must pay attention to the course of events.

In September, several ASF cases have been confirmed in wild boars in Belgium. The Belgian Animal Health Services were scorned by the dioxin crisis in 1999, that affected pig production so brutally. Since then, there is, in Belgium, a great sensitivity towards all the pig health questions. This may explain the efficient zeal that has caused the discovery of ASF in wild boars (discounting the fact that they appear dead beside forest tracks). It is compulsory to explain here that we must maximise all the biosecurity precautions. An advisable and wise option would be to give up the imports of live animals.

The presence of ASF in Belgium has upset lots of things: the price of pigs (liveweight) has plummeted (it is now €0.18/kg lower than in Spain), some areas are subject to quarantine and, above all, there is a great uncertainty and worry everywhere. We could say that Belgium is located at the core of the EU, and that the appearance of ASF has entailed a serious blow for the EU pig sector.

The price of pigs in Spain has dropped by €0.1010/kg in the four September market sessions. Nevertheless, we still have the highest price in Europe (among the countries that hold a place in the international pig trade), quite above our neighbouring countries' price. This is an anomaly by early October: only an anomaly that will have to be corrected.

The average carcass weights grows week after week, but at a lower pace than in other years (now some 400 g per week, other years some 800 g per week). This means that slaughterings are increasing as the abattoirs' margin reappears and/or normalises with the successive drops in the price of pigs. Obviously the activity also grows as more pigs are supplied. We will repeat here what has been already said: in 2018, the total slaughterings are being 8% (!!) higher than in 2017.

We are in a bearish market, and the only doubt that we may pose has to do with the intensity of the drop and its limit. We are far from reaching stability.

In December, our price is always lower than in Germany. There are no signs of rises in price in Germany. Their price is right now €0.05-0.06 below ours. It is not difficult to foresee that in December the price will be around €1.00/kg.

As Victor Hugo said: “The future has many names: for the weak it is the unachievable, for the fearful it is the unknown, and for the brave it is the opportunity.”

Guillem Burset

<p>Burset</p>

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