Pork prices tend to decline at this time of the year but warm summer weather and stronger-than-usual demand have combined to help them remain stable.

Pig stocks are low throughout Europe and processors are having problems meeting pre-Christmas demand. New EU entrants such as Romania and Bulgaria are increasing imports of pork for local consumption, adding to supply pressures - they are demanding UK spec for manufacturing grade cuts, which has pushed up prices 15%. "The opening of new borders has changed the cost dynamics of the pork market," according to one UK importer. At the same time, a shortage of European trailers and drivers is forcing major transport companies to subcontract work, adding about 7% to costs. With

pre-Christmas promotion deals already confirmed, the latest round of increases may not be reflected in retail prices until early next year. Whether processors will be able to meet their contracts in full may be an issue.


The Alaskan Department of Fish and Game has released its 2007 forecast for the Bristol Bay red-salmon run. It suggests stocks remain good - 26 million fish compared to last year's actual catch of 28 million. A sophisticated system of checking this year's returning fish, river by river, is enabling a far more accurate assessment to be made and this is helping the industry to make meaningful plans.

A slow Japanese frozen market, with few signs of improving, will encourage processors to plan increased canning capacity, as they did this year. Farmed salmon is gaining ground in Japan, even if consumers say they prefer wild product. However, price seems to hold sway when they are given a choice.

This season's reduced pack of red 418g is already having an effect, with reports of price rises from Seattle. Red 213g are unchanged but UK importers suggest over-production of 105g may lead to lower prices. Packers dismiss this and say they will carry over any unsold 105g into the new season.


Italy's longest tomato-canning season for 40 years has come to an end. AMITOM assessed final production at 4.3 million tonnes, despite a pre-season estimate of 4.8 million. "Had we not had an unexpected mild spell, without rain, we would have had a disaster on our hands," said a source in Naples. Topping up, mainly of chopped from Argentina, was necessary - despite the longer season. Prices have largely held steady.