Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
July 2, 2017
This week’s decline in cutout value is near the largest week-over-week realized in a very long time. Ribs and loins remained the key drivers behind the precipitous drop in the value of the carcass. Early September 2015, the choice cutout dropped over $13/cwt in a week, while this past week saw cutout drop over $14/cwt. End cuts, thin meats, and fat trimming values also played a role in the hefty loss in cutout value.
Middle meats continue to seasonally correct, with substantial price reductions occurring during the past week of trading. Strips and short loins, as well as thin meats from the loin section of the carcass also devalued over the past week, as buyers stepped back from the spot market. Chucks and rounds edged lower in seasonal fashion for the summer months. Angus ground beef values sustained support over the past week, attributed to fairly active demand for next week’s 4th of July holiday. Choice Grading Percentage remains strong, while Prime cuts remain at an all-time low mainly due to early harvest of market ready cattle.
The market for fresh pork products was largely supported this week, with the exception of spareribs. While there wasn’t always a straight line from point A to point B, the overall trends remained in-place. The loin market continued to find balance, and even strengthen, behind a somewhat interested buying corps. The only exceptions were some weaker sirloin and blade end trade. Trade-in picnics and cushion meat was firm as packers continued to convert larger quantities into lean boneless materials. Butts have received substantial support in recent weeks, and this week was no different with across-the-board premiums recorded. However, interest forward is diminished and the market is flashing weaker undertones. The sparerib market reversed course quickly; coming under considerable pressure once the window closed for the Independence holiday. St. Louis Rib values held, and Loin Back Ribs ranged full steady to firm in advance of the holiday weekend. Market watchers are closely following movement through the holiday on Tuesday for indications of future direction.
Supply and demand are generally balanced heading into 4th of July weekend. Last week there were some indications that prices may trend downward, but retail and foodservice demand quickly picked up and absorbed most of what was deemed burdensome.
Whole birds and WOGs are fully supported. Asked and paid values for spot loads are full market or better; sources close to the action are complaining that trucking has become a major obstacle. Whole breasts are snug. Breast meat ranges from steady to full steady. Jumbo meat is well balanced, medium sized meat is clearing quickly and select sized meat is barely adequate to short. Tenders and wings continue to move with relative ease at our listed quotations. Leg quarters are commanding better values. Whole legs, drumsticks and thighs are generally balanced and trading at steady values. Thigh meat and leg meat continue to find support.