Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
June 3, 2018
Beef markets softened after Memorial Day, as demand for middle meats eased, ground beef did not see any additional support develop and end cut values waned.
While some features for the approaching Father’s Day celebrations are now visible, the recent increase in supply has outweighed demand for ribs, loins, and ground beef. Briskets and the brisket cutout were clearly strong performers for the beef packer.
The market for both commodity beef and Angus beef has realized some devaluation following the holiday. Regarding the Angus complex, ribs and loins trading on the spot market saw prices slip lower, as demand eased in the face of ample supplies. Values declined over the week for the round complex, led by the inside round. Thin meats continued to trade mixed; tri-tips continue to receive a strong call from the western states for grilling season features. Ground beef processors were a little disappointed with the market for fresh grinds, as values did not develop support, as anticipated.
In the fresh pork complex, loins were mixed to modestly higher as buyers continued to seek product amid limited offerings. Butts declined substantially. Buyers have taken a hand-to-mouth approach to the butt market in an effort to avoid catching a falling knife, which only exacerbated the decline. Ribs were lower last week as well.
WOGs and whole birds were well-situated at current values and were the only lines currently exhibiting a strong set of trade conditions. Elsewhere in the complex, wings displayed a mixed undertone, depending on product size. Medium and large categories were easily uncovered with buyers frequently willing to negotiate at a discount in order to keep product moving. Small, on the other hand, enjoyed a relatively balanced market. Boneless breasts reflected a very similar undertone to wings with sales of medium and jumbo frequently taking place at a discount. Line run tenders were unsettled while supplies of select product kept up with demand patterns. Chunk meat and breast trim were rated about steady with buyers testing seller confidence. Leg quarters continued to reflect a guarded buyer sentiment. This was especially true in the export arena. Legs and thighs were at least adequate in their ability to keep up with buyer needs.