Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
May 21, 2018
Another week where middle meats found support, while end cuts realized a steady-to-lower spot market tone that offset the stronger one seen with ribs and loins.
Rib and loin values edged higher as buyers who looked to cover nearby features increased their interest in spot shipment. Strip loin values continued their ascent on the spot market, as did tenderloins. A barely steady market developed for some chucks and rounds. Ground beef prices remained stagnant throughout the week.
Middle meat values in both commodity and Angus Beef markets gained ground, while end cuts struggled, offsetting the gains seen with ribs and loins. Recent ground beef prices have remained relatively static, not finding much traction as Memorial Day celebrations approached. Angus Beef packers continued to see strong numbers of acceptable cattle that qualified for Angus Beef programs.
In the fresh pork complex, loins remained unsettled with mixed trade noted across bone-in and boneless items. Some higher boneless trade was reported late-week, yet the packers were still working through excess supplies, preventing meaningful gains. Butts ended the week on a lower now, losing momentum with some scattered, modestly weaker trade. Seasonal demand, in general, propped up the rib market.
Breasts and breast fronts were in good shape overall. Jumbo product held steady, while select line availability was frequently challenged by consistent demand. A shortage of birds available to cut further compounded limited supplies, due in part to well-absorbed offerings of WOGs and chickens. Breast meat was mixed. Although a steady market remained in place for select offerings, jumbo lines exhibited pressure and, at times, impacted the undertone to medium. As with boneless offerings, tender sales varied based on product size. Select products held steady at current quotations, while line-run frequently sold at discount.