Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
March 17, 2017
Well sold positions and strong exports for middle meats helped propel the cutout higher. End cuts held together better than anticipated which also supported the gains. Without having to worry about weakness in that area, the strong foothold for ribs and especially loins all contributed. Ribs grinded higher until late week which saw a surge in prices as buyers found minimal spot offerings. The real strength of the boxed beef market was the loin complex.
Packers were well sold and reported to end the week to continue to be well into March. Strips, short loins and top butts led the charge and put both choice and select nearly 6 percent higher week-to-week.
Ribs and Loins continued as the drivers behind an overall stronger Angus beef market over the past week. Pent up demand for middle meats over the recent few weeks broke loose as winter temperatures during February and early March were seasonally above normal. End cuts saw a bit of risk develop on the wholesale market, leading to discounting for spot shipment. Thin meats and ground beef advanced on our weekly market report. Choice grading has seasonally slipped just a tick lower.
The market for fresh pork products continued to find support this week, despite lighter than anticipated market activity. Availability of most product lines varied by seller, but collectively was considered barely adequate to adequate.
Buyers continued to bid-up most loin, picnic, cushion, and butt products when needs dictated. Meanwhile, others stood idly by given the lack of pace. In the end, bone-in loins added another $2.50 to $3.00/cwt on average this week.
Bone-in and boneless center cut loins were marginally improved, while the balance ranged steady/weak. Picnic and cushion products were once again supported, in-line with the trend on lean sausage materials. Butts also continued to trend higher; supported by a confluence of buying activity.
Whole birds and WOGs are still rated as full steady. Supplies are increasingly limited and held with very strong hands. Demand remains good, but offerings or the lack thereof is still likely the cause behind this recent uptick.
Breast meat is trading within a normal range of our quotations. Tenders are moving at supported values as well. Whole breasts and fronts are short and wanted. Wings have tightened as buyers have become aggressive in their pursuit because of March Madness. Whole legs, bone-in thighs, thigh meat and leg meat continue to receive an active call. All other bone-in dark meat items are fully supported. Export demand remains active, as do domestic needs.