Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
October 30, 2017
Carcass cutout values found support as ribs and tenderloins continued to appreciate. Many end cuts and loin offerings such as the strip and short loin were static throughout the week. Thin meats used in further processing posted advanced spot market value, as import offerings remain tight and buyers were busy buying domestic cuts. Packer spot inventories were very manageable given solid pre-sold orders.
The recent upward pace of rib prices slowed last week. Buyers were fairly satisfied for the time being with their spot and forward-time-slot bookings.
The loin primal of the carcass was clearly the winner when it came to week-over-week gains. Tenderloins and thin meats from the loin section for the carcass exchanged ownership at advanced levels.
Choice loin primal cutout moved up 2.90%, or $7.12/cwt.
In a bit of contrast to the recent weeks where Angus Beef rib values were fully supported by forward buying commitments, as well as a modicum of spot procurement, wholesale values edged lower last week with some quotations.
Buyers backed away from the spot market, taking a breather until the calendar hits dates that make more sense for holiday purchasing. Angus end cuts were largely steady to higher, while loin offerings saw discounting for immediate opportunity. Ground beef values edged slightly higher. Grading and eligibility of carcasses remained strong, as did the Prime grading percentage.
Fresh pork product values continued to strengthen behind both pork month activity and rather robust export action. Sellers, facing declining margins, sought premiums and were successful as all categories realized them, week-over-week.
Aside from WOGs, which were tight the first part of the week, most items were facing steady downward pressure as harvest continued to advance. Head counts and weights were increasing at a time of year when demand typically retreats; cold storage inventories were full; and beef and pork harvesting trended higher. All these factors and more contributed to a soft undertone. Breast meat held on far as long as it could, but price-sensitive buyers were only showing interest at discounted levels. The same was said for wings. Tenders, on the other hand, were well-supported. Even the bone-in thigh, thigh meat and leg meat markets were inundated with offerings.