Even without the reports of pig disease in Asia, most industry and market indicators around the world would be pointing to stronger pork prices this year. The December EU census results confirm the earlier evidence of herd contraction in most member states, and the latest US Department of Agriculture head count released on March 24 has sent the same message to the markets. Some American analysts are now talking of dramatic price increases by mid year, although it must be remembered the price depression was deeper in the US than in Europe. Yet still there are anomalies, such as the continuing produtivity gains in North America and the relatively resilient breeding stock numbers in Spain's huge pig industry. {{MEAT }}

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