European Union hog prices continued to rebound in the second week of April with the EU average up 1.5 percent from the previous week and now down only 2.6 percent year-over-year in euro terms. Prices have increased 6.5 percent since the recent low in mid-March. In U.S. dollars, carcass prices averaged $102.67/cwt. This is down slightly from last year, reflecting the stronger euro. Price trends for individual member states include:
- Germany: prices were up 2.4 percent from the previous week but are still down 4 percent from a year ago.
- Denmark: prices were steady with the previous week and are still down 5 percent from a year ago.
- Netherlands and Belgium: prices were up 4 percent from the previous week but still down 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively, year-over year.
- Poland: prices were up 2 percent from the previous week but were still down 7 percent from a year ago.
EU pork/pork variety meat exports were down 12 percent in February to 183,920 metric tons (mt), as exports to Russia fell to just 1,224 mt (-96 percent) following African swine fever-related ban on EU pork. February exports to China were lower (54,288 mt, -9 percent) but were mostly offset by growth to Hong Kong (29,776 mt, +17 percent). Exports were up significantly for Japan (24,252 mt, +17 percent), South Korea (15,337 mt, +47 percent), the Philippines (10,585 mt, +71 percent) and the United States (6,368 mt, +25 percent) as the EU benefited from higher prices in these markets, due in part to PEDV. For January through February, EU pork/pvm exports were down 3 percent to 408,715 mt.
Russia had been the main customer for EU exports of pork fat, so January-February exports were down 43 percent to 32,589 mt. Fat exports to Russia (18,054 mt, -56 percent) and Ukraine (3,435 mt, -40 percent) were both down sharply while the Philippines (6,001 mt, +90%) was the only significant growth market.
Beef import volume down, but chilled imports trending higher
The European Union’s total beef imports through February were down 5 percent from a year ago to 37,202 mt. Volumes were larger from Brazil (18,310 mt, +1 percent), Australia (2,902 mt, +13 percent), the United States (2,629 mt, +7 percent) and New Zealand (1,394 mt, +11 percent), but lower from Uruguay (5,546 mt, -19 percent) and Argentina (4,360 mt, -24 percent).
Chilled beef imports through February were up 9 percent to 17,933 mt, including growth from Brazil (3,888 mt, +36 percent), Uruguay (3,710 mt, +22 percent), Australia (2,688 mt, +32 percent), and the U.S. (2,550 mt, +5 percent), which offset smaller volumes from Argentina (3,969 mt, -14 percent). Imports of chilled beef from Brazil are mostly paying full duties while imports from Australia, Uruguay, and the U.S. are mainly entering under the duty-free, grain-fed quota. Argentina is shipping under its Hilton quota, with imports subject to a 20 percent duty.
EU cattle prices are mostly lower compared to last year’s high levels. Ireland’s steer prices are down 10 percent, partly reflecting an increase in production. In U.S. dollars, prices in the second week of April averaged $2.35 per pound (carcass basis), which is lower than U.S. steer prices.