Market Updates for January 4, 2019

Section Type

Dairy | Cheese

The Block and Barrel Markets have continued to be bearish. Speculators feel this will continue with the current environment trades are being made in. The weather has been mild with no current effect on milk production.

Last week:

Block - Down

Barrel - Down

This Week:

Block - Up

Barrel - Up

Dairy | Eggs

Retail demand fair. Supplies long. Market weak.

Last week:

Large - Down

Medium - Down

Small - Down

This Week:

Large - Down

Medium - Down

Small - Down

Dairy | Butter

The holiday season has come to a slow end, with trading quiet for the last two weeks of the year. The latest Cold Storage Report shows a bearish market with inventory drop at the highest percentage rate in years. The inventory levels are still at record highs, but the drop over the last month was significant.  Due to the drop, production is on the increase to build inventory for the Spring Holiday demand. 

Last week:

Butter - Up

This Week:

Butter - Up

Grocery & Bakery | Wheat

Wheat futures are near one-year lows as export business appears to be pedestrian and US weather conditions remain favorable.

Grocery & Bakery | Soybean Oil

Soybean oil prices dipped below the low end of the USDA's $0.28-$0.32/lb range for the second time last week. Recent reports suggesting that hot dry weather is shring the South American soybean crop triggered some price recovery.

Grocery & Bakery | Sugar

Now that most processors have forward sold a significant part of their output, they have tightened up the lower end of their offers. Cane remains at a 2-3% premium to beet sugar.

Meat | Beef

Cattle prices should start to level out following the holidays. Beef prices remain mostly flat overall.

Ground Beef:

Ground beef prices are mostly steady as retailers await weekend results from ongoing features.


Ribeye prices have not come down as far a usual so far this year. Packers booked a lot of volume forward at good discounts in December and now seem to be holding the line on spot prices. 


Prices averaged $0.25/lb higher in 2018 and they started 2019 $0.25/lb higher than the same time in 2018.


Round prices are steady as retailers pause buying to assess feature sales volume.


Forward sales are at higher prices. Packers are adding premiums based on expectations of tighter cattle supplies this spring.


Tender prices have peaked and prices are adjusting lower. Forward sales are still being made at 8% discounts.

Thin Meats:

Seasonally-declining beef production is usually price supportive for most thin meats in January.

Meat | Pork

Abbreviated holiday production schedules didn't help pork prices which have been pretty flat overall.


Butt prices are low enough to move extra production into freezer programs or exports. 


Ham prices have dropped and could begin to find support from freezer and deep-chill programs.


Belly prices should find buying for freezer programs as they work lower.


Backrib prices are above last year; St Louis spareribs are cheaper. Right now St Louis spareribs offer considerable savings.


​Loin prices are steady following Decembers price recovery.

Poultry | Chicken

The industry's efforts to reduce production have paid dividends across all categories of chicken. Whole chicken prices are up as much 10-40% over the last two months with deep discounts for larger sizes ending.

Breast and Tenders:

After bringing prices for most white meat items back to where they were in January 2018 the market is pausing. Makes sense if production is holding near 2018 levels.


Jumbo wing prices have recovered to where they were in January 2018; medium and small wings are still significantly lower than last year.

Dark Meat:

Strong export demand has yet to lift leg quarter prices back to where they were last year -- probably the result of Mexico's tariffs. Leg meat and thigh meat prices are steady.

Poultry | Turkey

Recent cold storage inventories show a healthy holiday pull with December 1 whole turkey inventories down 15% from last year. Price negotiations for 2019 are starting at steady money.