Facts are outweighed by a feeling of optimism in the EU pig meat management committee s assessment of market prospects. The MLC report of the July 11 committee meeting notes the small though quite widespread recent price declines on the continent were more or less acknowledged, but an upward trend was seen for the next 12 months. The chart, showing Brussels officials reference price estimates for the week ended July 9 and 12 months previously, illustrates the surprisingly modest year-on-year increases in the major markets Germany, Spain and France. UK commentators have been talking of continental prices catching up with the market here during the last few weeks, yet the reality is still a hefty premium confronting buyers of home produced pigs in this country and a patchy, seasonal trade over there. {{MEAT}}