Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
February 17, 2017
The beef complex was mixed again this week. The pace of change in slaughter helped certain areas at a time when interest remained dull. Ribs were generally steady. The market here is in a sideways pattern for the most part seasonally until interest renews next month. Chucks were pressured lower as sellers were willing to discount these items while simultaneously raising insides to offset those losses. Strip loins continued to be a laggard as sellers await the demand that comes with the summer months. The biggest benefactor of the lower kills is thin meats. These items typically rally quicker than other items. Throw in a short spot market already and it is no wonder top butts continued to advance. Ball-tips have strengthened in response to the stronger top butt market.
The Angus Beef market appears poised for the earnest beginning of “spring demand” for middle meats. Grading of cattle that meet the specifications to be eligible for the Angus Beef market remains quite strong at the moment.
Most Angus rib and strip loin prices over the past week were barely steady. Top butts and thin meats from the loin primal of the carcass continue to receive support from both a decent level of buyer’s interest, as well as the current level of F.I. Slaughter near, or under the 580,000 head mark. Angus end cuts saw a varied level of wholesale price movement recently. Angus ground beef wholesale prices slipped lower.
After correcting lower last week, hams found balance this week, and managed to eke out some gains as we inch closer to the typical Easter-demand period. Bellies remained well supported, although some of the momentum has been lost at these elevated levels. In trim, fresh 42s were sought after and thinly offered while 72s and picnics fluctuated throughout the week in a channel.
Interest in boneless breasts and tenders remains active if not aggressive against limited availability. Asked and paid values area advancing as are our quotations. Dark meat lines are rated steady to full steady. Export and domestic requirements are easily able to clear product within a very close range of stated values. Wings are feeling some pressure which is seasonally induced and focused largely on jumbo whole and cuts. Medium and small wings at are thus far not being impacted and are in a fair balance. Thigh meat and leg meat are in good standing for near term ship dates. Chickens and WOGs are moving well at steady values.