Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
March 31, 2018
The spot boxed beef market displayed a fairly flat tone throughout the week. The classic seasonal trend was in place where middle meats were largely in the buyer’s focus, while end cut values start to wane.
Any potential gains with carcass cutouts were held in check, and Choice carcass cutout deviated only minimally from prior week’s closing value. Choice ribs remained the star performer for the beef packer, at a gain of $0.97/ cwt, or 0.26% from last week’s closing value, while other major primal cutouts did not fare as well.
The Angus market stalled. The late winter market that pushed prices/values higher, as buyer’s interest for springtime features came to fruition, has now backed off a bit before the market makes a final run for late-spring and summer activity. Angus rib values slipped moderately lower, partly due to stalled demand which left adequate spot supply. Angus chucks and rounds saw features disappear as retailers focused on Easter ads to promote middle meats. Strip loins and top butts performed well over the past week. Tenderloins became available for quick shipment, prompting price reductions.
Product movement gradually slowed down towards the end of the week and into the weekend with many plants closing for scheduled downtime. WOGs and whole birds were tight- supplies often failed to keep up with resilient demand patterns. Boneless breasts had been regularly commanding premiums, but as Easter approached, market activity was less pronounced. Buyers of jumbo tenders continued to test seller confidence, while select offerings, on the other hand, were well rounded and in good shape. While small wings enjoyed a balanced market environment, medium and jumbo offerings did not share that same outlook. Ample inventories, when coupled with diminished seasonal activity, led to sales taking place at a discount. Thigh meat and leg meat were rated steady to full steady, while legs, leg quarters and thighs were well supported, especially in the export arena.