Another light trading week for boxed beef, with sales once again varying from slightly higher levels to reduced prices. Thin meats for the most part are trading firmly.
End cuts exchanged ownership at steady to lower levels. Most ground beef sales landed within our prior day’s closing quotations.
The Angus Beef Market over the past week saw a mix of both advancing wholesale prices as well as discounting to clear supplies. The mixture of price movements developed with both end cuts and middle meats.
Thin meats such as the inside skirt, flap meat, as well as flank steaks found support, as demand for spot product cleared wholesale supply. Ground beef offerings slipped lower in value. Grading of choice and higher cattle remains strong.
Bone-in hams were fully steady while boneless tracked mostly sideways. Bellies were the focus of attention following the cold storage report earlier in the week which showed not only the first time in history that December inventories were lower than November, but also the lowest December figure on record. Fresh offerings are thin to short in some instances, leading to notable gains in price. Trade in fresh pork has been somewhat dull and uninspiring, with market participants throughout the chain reporting quiet demand.
Still, market values are largely mixed. There’s been support for bone-in loins, while rather widespread availability of boneless products has that market under significant pressure. The balance of the loin complex ranged full steady to firm. There’s also strength in picnics, however cushion meat availability is widespread and subject to discounts. Butts remained largely in-range, while boneless lagged. The sparerib continues to benefit from ongoing seasonal buying interest.
Demand for most items is just fair and supplies vary from plant to plant. Tenders are the only exception here as buyers’ needs remain quite active and offerings are limited at most points of sale. Wings are fully supported; while there are pockets of buyers still looking for product, supplies are adequate if at the right price.
Whole birds and WOGs are about steady to steady. The same can be said for breast meat. Asked and paid values are within a normal range of our listed quotations. In the dark meat complex, all bone-in items are well supported and moving without any resistance. For some items, prices may be poised for upward movement. Thigh meat and leg meat is still no better than barely steady. Values are testing lower.