Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
March 24, 2018
The spot boxed beef market displayed a fairly flat tone throughout last week. The classic seasonal trend was in place where middle meats were largely in the buyer’s focus, while end cut values started to wane.
Any potential gains with carcass cutouts were held in check, and Choice Carcass Cutout had only deviated minimally from prior week’s closing value. Choice ribs remained the star performer for the beef packer.
Although the Choice Rib Cutout only gained $0.97/ cwt, or 0.26% from prior week’s closing value, other major primal cutouts did not fare as well. While the strip loin sustained strength, the short loin and peeled tenderloin did not see positive results last week. Spring demand has yet to arrive, lending to the overall weaker spot market for the loin primal.
After finding strong support over the last 4 weeks, now taking a short respite are Angus Beef middle meats before finding the next round of seasonal support. Although values for the Angus ribs and strips advanced over the past week, the gains were not as sharp as realized during recent weekly trading. End cuts saw mixed results develop since last week’s report, but for the most part, values declined with the rounds seeing the bulk of the negative pressure. Thins meats sustained support, while ground beef values slipped lower as ground beef processors await the earnest start of spring demand.
In the retail pork complex, ample production, sluggish retail sales and poor weather, especially in the Northeast, have all weighed on product value.
Despite winter weather threatening areas on the east coast, so far last week there hasn’t been any significant downtime attributed to inclement weather. Supply based shortages continued to play the major role in advancing spot values for whole birds and wogs. Demand was good if not better than seasonal and when coupled with limited availability a strong scenario pushed values higher. Buyers of bone-in breasts were quick to place bids at up money which was required in the presently snug environment. Boneless breasts were rated full steady to firm. Although their experiences are different, many buyers found difficulty fully securing requirements. Legs, leg quarters and thighs were steady and well cleared.