A return to the pigmeat market by Russian buyers has led to unexpected shortages in the manufacturing sector. Prices for fat are particularly strong ­ across Europe, rates comparable to rates for forequarter pigmeat. "In Denmark, hard fat was 3Kr50/kg a few weeks ago and now it's 15kr/kg," one trader said. Nor is there any short-term prospect of a change in the position. Most of the Russian contracts run until April, funded by a lift in oil revenues. The pattern of buying is consistent with the region's winter diet. But the scale of the buying has taken many by surprise. Pigmeat processors across northern Europe have been severely hit. "The biggest rises will be in salamis, which can be 20-25% fat." Suppliers are thought to be asking for a 10% increase, depending on the product. In manufactured goods, this will mean around upwards of 16p/kg. "We've had stable prices for 18 months and the sterling exchange rate is protecting the UK from the worst of the rises." This time last year, there were 11.65Kr to the pound ­ the rate now stands at 12.50Kr. Belgian pâté makers are struggling to find medium and soft fats to top their products with, while ham makers have suddenly found the price of rind material has rocketed. Trimmings with 50:50 isual lean are also hard to procure. "Wherever you look, it's much the same." {{PROVISIONS }}

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