Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
March 3, 2017
Higher cattle prices played a key role to advance spot beef pricing and carcass cutout values. Beef processors firmed their stance with offerings spread across the carcass.
Beef packers also maintained a disciplined attitude with the chain speeds, keeping F.I. Harvested numbers at levels to help with margin management.
The start of the spring seasonal climb higher surfaced this week with both choice and select ribs. Buyers were looking to book both near-term-delivery and forward-delivery of product. Choice rib primal value jumped 3.78% this week.
Strips and tenderloins also found support from buyers seeking product for their spring needs. Choice loin cutout surged 6.49% higher this week.
Trade prices of many Angus Beef offerings bounced higher, pushed mainly by a balance of improved demand as well as very current supply of market-ready cattle.
Loins and rounds were the big influencers with the jump in the value of the Angus carcass. Ribs also advanced in sharp fashion, as the spring market for ribs has commenced.
Thin meats found support as did the majority of ground beef offerings.
Hams struggled to find traction this week with lackluster export interest and a generally modest start to Easter preparations. Bellies were the big mover in the pork market this week.
The prices reached this February rivaled some of the highest summer peak prices in past years. Buyers therefore finally began to push back, resulting in a steep decline in asking levels.
Trimmings were unsettled throughout the week, with mixed action seen for much of the period.
The bottom half of the bird is well supported and prices continue to trend higher; the top half of the bird seems to have run out of steam and prices are testing lower.
Export demand for bone-in dark meat continues to keep product moving at a supported pace. Domestic prices are trending higher as most points of sale hold their offerings with increased confidence. Whole legs, leg quarters, drumsticks, thighs, and thigh meat have all moved higher this week.
As for breast meat and tenders, demand isn’t as active as it was in February. Offerings are beginning to back up at the plant and prices are teetering. Small wings are actually held with increased confidence, likely due to supply-side constraints.
Medium and jumbo wings have moved lower, but appear to have settled just in time for the college basketball tournaments to tip off. Whole birds and WOGs are commanding more money on the open market and market values are trending higher.