Market Update From the West Coast Meatheads

September 9, 2016

This was a week of the twos, when the week begins in one month and ends in the next. The phenomenon prompted buyers to add conservatively to existing orders, especially in the beef market.

Beef

Negative pressure hovered over the spot boxed beef market this week, resulting in cutouts moving lower. Spot market trading interest was unenthusiastic.

Packer operating margins remained positive even with cutouts moving lower, as once again packer buyers acquired front-end supply at lower pricing.

Loin offerings needed additional discounting this week. Select values fared slightly better. After several weeks of fairly strong demand, Choice rib values eased lower.

Pork

Hams were steady to slightly higher, with some more notable gains among boneless. Bellies traded in range. Availability varies by seller. In fresh pork, bone-in loins, butts, picnics and ribs were all fully steady to firm.

Boneless loins have been well supported in recent weeks. Since the week of August 8th, boneless loins have gained nearly 18 percent or $20/cwt.

This week will be the first of 2016 in which the weekly value is higher than that of 2015, caused by demand ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

Poultry

Turkey

Demand, much less negotiated trade, is very light this morning.

Most participants are preparing for what is a long weekend for many while others are eyeing weather maps hoping to avoid a business wash-out.

Hen supplies fell short of full needs with several processors unwilling to write additional orders until some point in the future. Toms are mixed. Some operations are in close balance while others might be long in the 20-24 pound segment or, occasionally, the 16-20 pound segment. Consumer breasts are in a decent balance overall after a little effort to clear stocks was made during the past month.

We still find some sizes of institutional breasts to be under pressure. This is especially true for deliveries to the west. Fresh drums are adequate while frozen maintain a very close balance.

Wings are likely to close the week unchanged with offerings available as September unfolds. Neck values are fairly stable and supported. The amount of interest in bone-in and boneless thighs has improved and gave solid support to listed quotations.

Demand for fresh tom breast meat and the balance of whole muscles or white trims supported regular business patterns. Frozen supplies of the same lines are considered as steady to weak.

Chicken

Overall activity on the spot market was very light this week. Industry observers anticipate that it will remain that way for the rest of week.

Buyers and sellers are assessing their positions for the near future and making any necessary adjustments in preparation for Hurricane Hermine.

Breast meat is still unsettled, but offerings are not as plentiful as they were earlier in the week. Wings are still limited and held with confidence.

Tenders are deemed adequate to cover needs which are moderate to active. Whole birds and WOGs are fair. Dark meat remains unchanged from previous days.

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