Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
October 3, 2017
Packers felt more confident coming into this week than previous ones given how well they sold into this time period. This helped both choice and select cutouts edge higher on the back of rib appreciation, and certain end cuts.
While there was some weakness in the loin primal and ground beef, it was not enough to overpower the strength elsewhere. The rib primal was the one clear winner across the board this week. Well sold positions gave packers the confidence to raise asking prices on almost a daily basis.
Angus Beef markets have found support as buyers have increased their interest with securing product in both spot and forward time slots. End cuts are now being featured in retail ads, leaving items such as the chuck roll, flat, and eye round somewhat short of the current call. Angus rib eyes are now seeing support develop, albeit slightly ahead of the typical time frame when seasonal strength develops. Many loin cuts continue to struggle for steady wholesale pricing, with the exception seen as the tenderloin. Choice grading percentage remains strong.
Fresh pork product values continued to erode amid current and future heavy production, and cautious buying. Daily harvest reached record levels this week, but the pace of trade failed to keep-up; this resulted in an amply supplied spot market.
The result was additional weakness in the loin, butt, and sparerib components. All loin products were lower on the week, but items like bone-in and boneless centers, tenderloins and bone-in sirloins were particularly problematic for sellers
Butts were discounted evenly across-the-board, while medium spareribs fell sharper than the light variety. St. Louis and Loin back ribs were unchanged on the week.
The chicken market is still correcting itself as most listed lines have trended lower at least some again this week. Whole birds and WOGs appear to have settled for the time being, but prices did adjust lower as sellers were forced to entertain discounted bids in order to stimulate interest. Whole breasts, fronts, breast meat and tenders have yet to reach their bottom. If asking levels are any indication, sellers aren’t even attempting to hold the market steady; they’d rather just get clean.
Wings are deemed adequate to cover needs which are moderate. It’s been a while since jumbo wings were even offered on the spot market; now that they appear readily available, buyers are becoming hesitant in their approach. Every bone-in dark meat item has adjusted lower, except for drumsticks, but even they too are testing in spots. Thigh meat and leg meat supplies are still somewhat snug however, this is likely a direct result of the labor, or the lack thereof, than demand.