More price fall signals from biggest EU market Reports from traders in the German pig market are of price wobbles and increasing production, possibly early indications of the next cyclical downturn in pork values throughout the EU. The evidence so far is inconclusive, because an increase in German slaughterings and perhaps some price weakness would not be unusual at this time of the year in response to seasonal supply and demand influences, but the hints of softer trade coincide with a forecast of surprisingly heavy production from market reporting agency ZMP. German pig output is predicted to decline in the year to next July. However, ZMP's estimate of a 3% fall to about 40 million head is much less than would seem necessary to justify the expectations of a continuing price boom on which producers are apparently basing investment decisions in other EU states including France, Spain and the UK. If the ZMP forecast proves correct, total EU production in the current 12 months period will be down only 2% from the year to last July and just 5% lower than in 1998/99, when most markets in Europe were afflicted by severe over supply. Distinguishing between seasonal and cyclical factors in the EU industry and domestic markets is difficult, because the production cycle has lost its traditional regularity and predictability in recent years. Moreover, it is now clear several of the major industries have cycles out of phase with the production flows in other member states, which may increase the likelihood of the current seasonal movement in Germany triggering a wider price shakeout next spring. {{MEAT }}