Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads

February 4, 2018

Beef

The consequences of shortened production, related to late January’s large winter storm in cattle producing regions, emerged early this week, as packer’s spot offerings were very manageable. As the week progressed and chain speeds at packing plants ran at normal levels, product became available. Cutouts firmed early in the week, flattening out in the later stages. Buyer’s interest for quick shipment orders was not very strong this week. Rib values throughout the week edged higher, following last week’s shortened production and demand that has developed for the upcoming Easter holiday. Choice loin cutouts drifted lower, while Select loins found support, as supply fell short of current interest because of strong, sustained, Choice grading.

Angus Beef

Cattle entering the harvest mix that meet Angus beef standards remained seasonally strong. Spot supplies remained mostly adequate. The past week of trading for Angus at the wholesale level saw ribs, chucks, rounds and thin meats edge higher, as demand was fairly balanced by spot supply. A few loin cuts slipped lower, pressured in part by the lack of spot market interest. Ground chuck and ground round quotes declined as buyers felt their onboard inventory was in decent position for Super Bowl weekend.

Pork

It was yet another week where wholesale pork prices were generally flat, except for a few select items. The pork cutout managed to close a bit higher than the previous Friday, after losing some gains accumulated in the first half of the week. Meanwhile, Iowa-Minnesota hogs gained 6 percent over the same period.

Chicken

Market activity was a bit irregular this week after some solidification in the past 10 days or so. Offerings on most listed lines were adequate for immediate needs. The fifth week of the month is traditionally challenging; participants anticipated renewed business with the new month.

Whole birds and WOGS attempted to settle with offerings in a more manageable position. Tenders remained firm with excellent demand clearing production. Wings were supported with last minute shoppers attempting to fill late orders. Boneless breast meat was balanced with selling levels well-reflected by our quotations. Dark meat lines rated steady. A blend of export, retail, and further processing commitments lent a steady undertone across the board.

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