German pig prices stable despite lost Asian exports

HAMBURG, April 14 (Reuters) - German pig prices remained stable this week with sales inside Europe continuing to underpin following import bans on German pork last year by China and other Asian buyers, traders and industry sources said on Wednesday.

Pig prices were unchanged on the week at 1.50 euros a kg slaughter weight, the same level as in March and up from 1.21 euros in February, German animal farmers' association VEZG said.

Piglet prices were also unchanged at 53 euros per animal against only 32.50 euros in early February, the association said.

“Piglets are finding buyers easily,” one German meat trader said. “We are hoping that warmer springtime weather will appear which will encourage the start of the barbecue season and generate more pork demand.”

Internal EU demand is stable, but there is still no real hope of a widespread reopening of German restaurants, closed under anti-coronavirus measures, the trader said.

Asian countries, including China, banned German pork imports in September 2020 after African swine fever (ASF) was found in wild boars in east Germany, causing pig prices to fall. This changed trade flows, with other EU countries exporting to China, but as more German pork is being sold inside the EU, German prices are being underpinned.

“China continues to take a lot of pork from elsewhere in Europe which is indirectly price-supportive in Germany,” the trader added.

China imported 1.02 million tonnes of meat in March, up 11.4% on the year and the highest monthly volume since at least January 2020, as China continued to stock up to meet shortages at home, customs data showed on Tuesday. (Reporting by Michael Hogan; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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