The rate at which cutouts declined this week was less severe than the week prior, but realized a fairly hefty drop again. Rib and loin discounts were still the main factor with the carcass cutout devaluation. End cuts and thin meats also played a vital role with the weaker spot market.
Spot market values of Choice and Select ribs continued their seasonal deterioration. The Choice rib cutout dropped $13.40/cwt this week, or 3.77%. Loins fared a bit better than ribs this week, but remained under negative pressure. Choice loin cutout moved $7.52/cwt lower, or 2.39%.
Angus Beef processors continued to report a strong choice percentage, and the available animals that met Angus standards remained strong as well. Spot market sales of not only ribs but also loins occurred over the last week at lower money; end cuts, thin meats and ground beef values also slipped lower. With the absence of any holidays to buoy sales going forward, some retailers have shifted retail features over to lower-priced alternatives such as boneless chicken and pork spare ribs.
The market for loins and butts moved from steady to firm midweek as buyers looking to replenish post-holiday saw only limited spot market opportunities. The Tuesday holiday created additional challenges at the packer level this week, both in terms of production and logistics. The result was generally limited spot market availability as loin and butt averages moved higher. Trade in picnics and cushion meat was mixed. Meanwhile, sparerib values continued to adjust lower and St. Louis rib and loin back rib values ranged steady to weaker as needs diminished post-holiday.
Supply and demand for most listed lines was generally balanced. Whole birds and WOGs traded at market related levels. Whole breasts were held with varying degrees of confidence. Jumbo breast meat was fair at best; offerings were at least adequate at most points of sale and trading levels were within a reasonable range of our quotations. Tenders were fully supported. Wings—at least jumbos–moved relatively well. All bone-in and boneless dark meat items rated at least steady to full steady. Sellers asked for more money and were, in some cases, getting it.