Unleash the Hogs: Brexit Stockpile Means Cheap Sausages for U.K.

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. consumers are still waiting for a real “Brexit dividend,” but they might get some relief through sausage prices.

British meat processors built up inventories ahead of the original March 29 exit deadline -- now delayed until October -- to stave off concerns about potential supply disruptions. The stockpile means British pig prices have remained under pressure, while those in other parts of the world have risen recently amid an outbreak of a deadly hog virus in China.

Unleash the Hogs: Brexit Stockpile Means Cheap Sausages for U.K.

Meat processors won’t flood their stockpiles onto the market, “but they will be eking it out and trying to reduce the stocks a little bit,” Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said by phone. “It’s bound to take the edge off the market.”

The reserves have helped British pig prices to shrug off the recent jump in prices in the rest of Europe and elsewhere. China has been importing more pork to make up for shortages caused by an outbreak of African swine fever that’s decimating its hog industry.

Still, China’s pig crisis may eventually give U.K. meat processors a chance to offload their stockpiles at an attractive price, said Chris Fox, a manager at pig marketing co-operative Thames Valley Cambac. “You can only empty these cold stores once,” he said.

Stores of beef built up ahead of the exit date could also be weighing on U.K. beef prices, according to the country’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

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