Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads
July 24, 2017
Spot market trading activity was fairly strong this week, as buyers sought opportunities for near-term features. Cutouts were on the defensive this week, but not to the extreme levels seen over recent weeks. Packers sought clearing price levels of end cuts and thin meats; it appears they enter the next few weeks in improved spot inventory position.
Choice rib values stabilized this week, as packers found comfortable price levels to attract buyers. The Choice rib cutout dropped only $0.48/ cwt this week compared to a massive $19.48/cwt decline last week. In the Choice striploin market, a few weeks of deep discounting for the major cuts put wholesale prices more in line with buyers’ thinking.
The tone to the Angus beef market over the past week was mainly barely steady/ easy, but as the week progressed, Angus processors began feeling a bit more confident with their spot market product.
There are signals that cutouts may be nearing the bottom and about to firm as buyers reenter the market for out-front needs that include Labor Day product. Angus ribs dropped moderately in value since our last report.
End cuts realized a mixed market. Thin meats posted hefty drops. Ground beef edged lower.
All week, sellers were reporting difficulty securing the interest of domestic buyers who recently shifted into a hand-to-mouth buying pattern. The market was responding negatively and product appeared to be piling up,but on Thursday, a look at weekly shipments and bookings overseas showed declines in overall export activity, especially to China. The combined lack of buying both domestically and abroad resulted in a spot market that becameincreasingly well supplied--in some instances, oversupplied. Butts were the most problematic category, leading all losers lower, and spareribs were a close second.
Whole birds and WOGs are weak and trending lower. Despite there being fewer birds out of that size category, demand is no better than dull if not nonexistent. Sellers are entertaining discounted bids in order to stimulate interest at the mid-month mark. Jumbo breast meat is unsettled. Weights have trended lower as the summer heat restricted bird performance, but supplies were still fully adequate to ample at most points of sale. Medium-sized and select-sizedmeats are well supported and possibly getting stronger. Tenders are full steady to firm; wings are in close balance. As for the back half of the bird, thigh meat and leg meat continue to move at full-market or better values.
Bone-in dark meat generally has support.