Looking at price levels and producers’ margins, Dr Kai-Uwe Sprenger, market officer for animal products at the European Commission’s directorate general (DG) for agriculture, said there were no significant variations in these two areas so far.
"We have stable prices on pork and even slightly increasing prices on poultry," he explained. While there has been a little drop in beef prices, their level is still good compared to the average prices for beef meat over the past five years, Dr Sprenger said. And cereal prices are going down, which helps to keep the cost pressure off EU livestock farmers, he argued.
However, the European Commission and the EU governments are following the situation in the meat market closely to ensure they react quickly in case of problems, Dr Sprenger added.
So far, the Russian ban on pork meat from the EU – in place since January – has kept the prices at moderate levels, which has increased consumption in the EU, Dr Sprenger explained. Pork meat prices did not increase this summer as they normally do, according to him. And this has an impact also on the EU’s exports to other countries in the world, he said. "If our price levels go down, then we are more competitive on the world market in relation to Canada, the US and Brazil," Dr Sprenger added.
As a consequence, EU pork exports to Japan, South Korea and the Philippines have increased significantly this year, while China and Hong Kong, taken together, have become the EU’s first pork export market, said the European Commission expert.
"The Russian embargo affects more the Russian consumers than the European producers, for which we will discover a way to find new markets," added EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Cioloș, speaking last week (3 September) in Brussels.
He announced that the Commission will increase its support for 2015 promotion programmes of EU agricultural food products outside the EU from €30m to €60m. Brussels hopes this will help EU producers find new markets to compensate for the Russian embargo.