Raw material costs for manufacturers have been held back by depressed agricultural markets in 1998. Producer prices across Europe have recorded some steep declines, according to Eurostat. Estimates for 1999 point to an 8.7% drop in pig prices, nearly 12% on eggs as well as a 5% drop in producer returns on milk. UK producers suffered fractionally less than the EU average figure of 4.6%, taking a 4.4% hit. The Dutch, Danish and Irish industries saw drops of 9.3%, 8% and 7.1% respectively. But if returns have been depressed, so have input costs for feed crops. But there is still a 3% drop in the UK terms of trade, according to the EU statistics agency. {{PROVISIONS }}