Market Updates for August 21, 2020

Section Type

Dairy | Eggs

Large -Higher

Medium - Higher

Small - Higher

Retail demand mixed. Supplies of extra large and large well balanced and held confidently. Market steady to full steady.



Dairy | Butter

Butter- Higher

Cream inventories are continuing to tighten as ice cream production starts to compete for raw material and hits it's production stride. Retail sales show signs of decline, but overall are still healthy. With restaurants reopening food service distributors are still coming back to the buying table, but orders are still below expectations. 

Dairy | Cheese

Barrel - Lower

Block - Higher

The CME Block and Barrel markets has responded to more moves from the government programs.  This time on the downside, due to the lackluster response to another round of USDA Box Program Bids.  Speculators feel this downturn will be around for the short term.


Grocery & Bakery | Soybean Oil

Last week's weather event (derecho) in the upper Midwest has left a trail of damaged crops. The total impact is unknown, but certain pockets throughout Iowa and Illinois are claiming to see big losses. More Chinese orders and increased purchases of palm oil are also supporting the market, which continues to grind its way higher. Technical ranges suggest we may be near the peak of the soy oil price range, and with the harvest about to begin we should see a dip. Canola oil supplies are continuing to be tight. Some US packers are delaying shipments due to late rail car tankers coming down from Canada to fill the pipeline.

Meat | Pork

Production is increasing at a pace larger than anticipated, we expect to surpass a harvest of 2.6 million hogs this week. Prices are inching higher and expected to soften next week. Butts are up slightly, loins no change with spare ribs up more than $.05/lb. Bellies are holding steady, as limited production limits features. Hams are firming as buyers are positioning their inventory for the holidays. 


Meat | Beef

Production is steady; harvest is consistently running 640K-650K per week. Demand has been good; retail continues to lead with many items moving well and featured ads for Labor Day ramping up. Export demand has also been good due to the weak US dollar. Larger than anticipated harvest weeks have cleaned up much of the cattle from the glut we were seeing just a few months ago. Combine that with good demand and reduced cattle placements over the last few months, we are starting to see higher prices on live cattle as well as deferred futures. The choice cutout has been steady to higher and all items have been steady to stronger as we move into Labor Day demands. Expect to see a short term bump in ground beef. End cuts will stay steady to higher as we are in the season for these items. Briskets are moving well and continue to move up slightly each week. However, there’s not much support under the brisket as we move into September so expect to see them flatten out. Middle meats are strong leading into Labor Day but items such as ribeye could see a bit of a dip as we get into September before they ramp up for the holidays.


Seafood | Finfish

Cod, Alaskan 1x:

The supply of the big stocks of wild whitefish are set to remain stable for 2020, lifting by less than 1% according to the forecast from the Ground fish Forum in October 2019.  For Pacific cod the forum forecast has the total supply at 365,000 t in 2020 down from 387,000t.    Note the Gulf of Alaska is completely closed in  Federal waters for this season but the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands are still active fisheries . Overall this has driven a decline in Canadian and US landings from 185,000t to 158,000t as well.    Currently Limson has plenty of supply in the 8/16 oz size. 

Cod, Atlantic 1x:

For Russian and Norwegian Cod Per Undercurrent News:  The International Council for exploration of the Sea (ICES)  has recommended that the cod catches in the Berents Seas are set at 885,600 MT in 2021.  ICES advised the cod quota in the Beren's Sea for 2021 be set at a level 28% higher than the level that was advised last June for 2020 of 689, 672, MT .  Currently we expect the price level to remain stable for the balance of the year .  There is not a lot of inventory overseas as they are are facing strong demand in Europe,  especially from the retail market and the fish & chips segment in the UK which is unusually busy currently.   Fish & Chips in the UK are mostly bought from Take Aways currently,  this seems to be the Out of Home meal of choice currently while the Brits are not travelling abroad and reluctant to dine in other types of restaurants or pubs.The bottom line is that  Frozen at Sea fillets have not changed much in price.   Demand is still very good and there is not much excess of product.   Regardless of the current strong market expect prices to remain stable at this point given the global uncertainties and challenges.The 1x frozen Atl. cod loins from Canada are now being offered from the new 2020 season.  Costs have been confirmed to be close to the same as last season.  Canadian Cod is harvested in three general areas in northeast Canada that impact our supply.   2J 3KL (Northeast Coast).2020 total removals were recently announced at 12,350mt - same level as in 2019.  However only 10,000mt was caught  in 2019 which effectively means the fishermen have access to an additional 2,350mt in 2020.   3Ps (Southcoast). 2020 TAC was cut 55% from 2019.  Limson's processor left 1,350mt of Canadian* fish in the water last year so the effective cut is more like 30% for Canada.* the cod quota in this area is shared between Canada (84.4%) and France (15.6%).  4RS 3Pn (West Coast) 2020 TAC is 1,000mt - same level as 2019.  

Cod, Atlantic 2x:

Pricing has started to rise as orders for the holidays are being placed which is causing packers to negotiating for raw material. Inventory levels remain healthy. 

Cod, Pacific 2x:

Pricing has started to rise as orders for the holidays are being placed which is causing packers to negotiating for raw material. Inventory levels remain healthy. 

Pollock, Atlantic 1x:

The overall Pollock supply for 2020 is expected to remain relatively stable .   The forecast at the ground fish forum for the US supply of Alaskan pollock for 2020 is 1.528 million metric tons, down from 1.552 m t in 2019. Note fillet prices for larger sizes are expected to increase as supply on these sizes are more limited.  As the B season resumed at the end of June,  first reports are that the fish are smaller only producing 2-4  oz sized fillets. The hope is as they grow out at best to the  900 gram size, this  will increase the availability of the 4/6 oz fillets.  For now Limson has product and does not expect any interruption in supply.  

Pollock, Pacific 2x:

Inventory will remain strong through the Summer and into the fall. Will see pricing soften through the summer months until packers overseas begin to receive holiday / lent orders. Wild Pollock will increase in demand as a high-protein variant. The anticipated increase in demand has many suppliers looking to become vertically integrated to reduce costs, and gain more control over the supply chain.


Per Undercurrent News:  For haddock ICES is advising the TAC be lifted 8% for 2021 to 232,537 MT relative to the advise of 215,000 MT for 2020.  Norway and Russia followed Ices advise for it's 2020 quota setting it at 215,000MT. Plants overseas are currently looking to negotiate on prices as they look to get product moving.

Domestic Lake Fish:

As we progress through the summer season the landings of perch have been minimal at best.  Originally there was concern that this market could crash with no demand but to date the fishing is so poor on this species they cannot catch enough to make a difference.   Costs remain elevated and taking walleye with perch purchases is still an issue when they are available for sale.      For now walleye is still available but costs have increased slightly on the smaller sizes and overall due to excessively warm temperatures on the lake and more limited summer harvests.   The availability of smelt is limited due to an overall shortage of the product, however just this week we have been able to find a limited amount of battered.  The season for smelt  was supposed to have been underway but to date the fish are so small they cannot be eviscerated for sales and any offerings have been limited.  Overall the volume is not significant enough to supply current demand.    We are hoping to be able to obtain more product if possible but at the moment the outlook on supply is bleak    Prime fishing was missed for white perch due to the virus causing there to be a shortage of the product.  White perch is not expected to be available until late summer when fishing picks back up.  New season whitefish is  available with some softening on cost.    

Euro Lake Fish & Zander:

The European supply on euro lakefish has been more than adequate to date with no interruptions in supply .  Limson is covered on all sizes at this time.  Note there are reports of less inventory available overseas on the smaller 20-40 and 40-60 g perch and zander as we progress into the fall.    Costs are expected to remain stable for now but if supply issues persist expect the smaller fish to rise on cost to ensure continued supply.  Euro perch has increased recently due to the demand and lack of domestic perch for  Food Service sales.  For late summer, fall orders we did expect a softening on cost purely due to the current exchange but that was short lived as of late with the dollar adjusting  and increasing cost of goods.    Note this is a lower cost option to the domestic  product  and eats comparatively.  

Mahi Mahi:

Mahi Mahi has been secured from the 2019 fall season and Limson has supply on all sizes to get us until the next season resumes out of S America in the fall .   Costs remain stable for an active demand in Food Service as of late.   Note we have 4,6 and 8 oz portions that are vacuum packed and can be a great option for retail applications if sold as eaches.  

Frozen Tuna, Swordfish :

As of late costs have remained stable with a slight uptick on demand overall.  Limson has plenty of supply on all  offerings from steaks to saku to swordfish all in IVP packaging for retail sales as well.  Vietnam –  prices currently are flat.   We are going into the slow catch season and COVID looks to be going into a 2nd wave. To date it has not affected workers yet, but the national Government is keeping an eye on it. There is a possibility this could cause some delays. Indonesia is still in the main season and demand remains low and since Food Service is not purchasing as much,  higher end Saku from the loins are being sold as steak cuts which has prevented costs from dipping.  For swordfish; Asia – Being a bycatch of Tuna, sword availability is getting even tighter and will remain this way through February.  Ecuador - Catch is down and prices are firm.



Vietnam feels they have the Corona virus completely under control as they have not have any new infected cases in the past 100 days. Therefore, our pangasius supply chain fortunately is not disrupted throughout this unprecedented period. Since May, global markets showed some recovery signals as countries started to re-open and loosen their social distancing status. Although there is a concern of the 2nd wave of COVID-19 this fall. Raw material remains at the bottom level since February. As farmers reduced farming volume early this year due to the uncertainties caused by COVID-19. Pangasius supply is expected to be short in Q4 this year and once this happens RM price most likely will face upward pressure.


Generally prices have remained stable most of the year so far. However raw material pricing/cost was also stable up until about May. Now for the past few months you have seen an increased competition for raw material. The reasons for this are due to high demand for many months at retail. Where they prefer 2-5 oz or 3-5 oz traditionally over the larger sizes. Larger sizes tending to be preferred by restaurants. Focus by some customers and plants on producing 4 oz and below due to the tariff exclusion.This means that plants are having to pay an ever-increasing premium to secure enough raw material from the farms to meet orders. Farmers do not make much profit on smaller sizes. So they prefer to wait until the fish grow bigger before harvest. Now packers and customers need the farmers to harvest sooner to get more smaller sizes. Farmers must be incentivized to do that. Packers are competing for the farm supply. At the same time that would of course mean there’s less available of the larger sizes if farmers are having to harvest sooner. Overall import volume reports from January through June saw a 25% increase over 2019 with February being high, March very low and then April, May & June back up. This was mainly driven by the retail demand for frozen seafood. Food service demand is starting to slowly pick up, though how fast has varied by region of the country, where in the re-opening phases. Due to the overall demand in retail and pick up in food service you will see prices start to rise until demand Stabilizes.

Seafood | Shrimp

India and Indonesia have both struggled with the availability of workers and raw material along with getting Brood Stock as international flights are very limited right now. In the short term you may see some good pricing in the market as people are trying to move off old or excess inventory.This will have a larger impact come fall as this will limit the inventory availability which would cause increased pricing. Current shortages in the market are easy peel, cooked shrimp and smaller sizes on raw PD and PD tail-on as we have seen an uptick in retail and delayed shipments from overseas. Experts expect to see a drop in overall production output out of India by 30% for 2020.Ecuador has been one of the most impacted countries because of COVID. In 2019 China accounted for 61% of all Ecuador's shrimp exports. With the current complications between Ecuador and China Ecuador is faced with finding other outlets to  to move inventory with EU and the US being the highest probability. With India and Indonesia facing potential shortages Ecuador may be able to provide the solution on certain products.

Imported Black Tiger:

Production out of Indonesia has been slow and steady without any major shut downs. The packers are backed up with excessive orders(for over 6 months in most cases) and most buyers have experienced extensive shipment delays causing current shrimp shortages in the US. Raw material prices there are escalating at much higher pace than in India and packers are taking major losses as order dates are back from January and February 2020. Packers are also handicapped and are not in position to take any new orders until they put some dent in their existing order book. Indonesia will continue to struggle through late 2020 when their season starts in Dec. However, they are expected to continue shipping at a steady pace.

Imported White:

We will see a rising market through summer and into fall as shortages continue to develop with the uptick in demand for both retail and food service. Normal harvesting has been disrupted as farmers panic harvested in March and April. Many farmers have reseeded but at 40-50% due to limited raw material. The next harvest is expected in September with a limited crop availability. Presently there is raw material available, but the cost is escalating as packers are bidding each other out in a race to fill their existing orders.

Latin White:

Prices have firmed due to limited supply, 

Domestic White & Brown:

The spring season started mid April to early May but was delayed due to the COVID-19 impact. Boats are being delayed as overall demand is down and cold storage is filling up. Retail continues to spike on 16/20 and 21/25 which has driven up pricing on those sizes across the market. Louisiana inshore is still closed to protect juvenile white shrimp.  The May/June production of small peeled was the lowest it has been in over 30 years, primarily due to lack of shrimping effort.  The next opportunity for small peeled will be this fall with whites. Texas waters have opened up for shrimping (Mid July). The big boats that have been working off-shore La and AL have begun to come in with a mix of large white headless, brown headless, and large head-on for peeling (that would yield 31/35-61/70 peeled). Boat prices have steadily risen over the last  several weeks on all raw material  due to current inventory shortages, and demand from retail and the gradual opening of foodservice exceeding current supply and production.  This is expected to last through August.

Domestic PUD:

Smaller PUDs (110-200ct) have becoming unavailable in the market which is driving up prices until the current season brings in new landings. We have seen a delay on production as only 35-40% of boats have gone out in recent weeks. We should see more availability come August as the fishing in Texas waters open up for shrimping mid July. This will put increased pressure on the East Coast to get more boats in the water.

Domestic Rock & Pink:

Domestic rock production typically starts on the Atlantic coast  of Florida toward the end of July.  At the moment there is no concentrated effort on rock, only small incidental catches of a few rock shrimp along with brown shrimp.   It takes a long time right now to accumulate enough rock raw material to process.Targeted Domestic rock production typically runs from Late July through December.  Mexican rock production in the southern gulf starts later in the year (typically November)  and runs through the following spring. At the moment there is really no existing inventory of shell on or P&D rock.  It will be August before we see some availability.

Seafood | Lobster

North Atlantic:

For N Atl Lobsters the suppliers are having a hard time knowing what will happen due to Covid.  To date the Maine catch has been marginal but there are still the fall season and time to make up any lack of supply.  The tail business has been strong for the small tails, ¾, 4 and 4/5 tails because the retailers have been very active. Currently there are limited amounts of the larger sizes until fishing resumes in late fall in the 6/7 , 8/10 and up range.    Most expect the plants to be cautious in what they pack .  If orders are not there they will limit what they process to mitigate losses.  Meat costs have been steady but there is some expectation that costs could soften after the labor day holiday...but that remains to be seen due to demand.  


Warm Water:

The WW tail market as for the N Atl market has decreased in demand for the Food Service sector.  To date we have supply on all sizes .  Note a significantly softer cost  than last fall / winter.      Reports indicate the plants are social distancing to maintain production and that Brazil and Belize are not having any issues getting product processed.  This year they seem to mirroring the N Atl Market to capture their share of the market based on cost.  However... there has been increased demand in the retail sector that has driven movement.  As travel, cruises etc have been limited and the big parks remain closed or limited , many have chosen to use their disposable income on what in other years has been pricy product.  Enhanced unemployment ,  PPP dollars etc has made this market extremely active and is making up for losses in Food Service sales.  

Seafood | Crab

Snow Crab:

The snow crab fishery season has drawn to a close out of the Gulf  leaving at best 10 % of the quota in the water, with prices still increasing almost daily.  We have seen record prices across the board and the end is nowhere in sight as the availability of crab will begin to decline.  What has made this season more difficult to comprehend is the majority of end-users - foodservice - have for the most part been a non-factor when it comes to purchases and with re-openings just beginning, it will take some time for them to get their bearings.  This has left the retail sector as the bulwark when it comes to selling crab, not only equal to what they have done in the past but to compensate for foodservice as well.    Suppliers are having difficulty maintaining any sort of inventory with product flying out the doors as soon as it arrives.  Pricing does not appear to be a deterrent as costs have risen sharply and for the larger sizes specifically have continued to climb.  As for Newfoundland/Labrador they are done for the season .  As  expected  the entire quota for this fishery as well as Nova Scotia has been harvested.  

King Crab:

Currently the seafood sector reports that king crab is selling well in retail with very minimal sales in Food Service as expected.  Right now the market is starting to tighten some on the  larger size king crab as these sizes are  limited as of late and increasing in cost.  Some processors  indicate costs will be firmer still  through  the summer.    Brown 16-20 King crab has also come up very short and there is limited to no supply currently on the market..  Per Undercurrent News;  New Red King Crab is coming from both the Berent's Sea and the Russian Far East.  Plus the Alaskan golden king crab season is underway.  The Russian Far East  red king crab season begins Sept. 1 and there will be crab for the holiday season.  The quota this year is 16.305 metric tons which will be completed by the end of the year .  



Red Swimming Crab:
Blue Swimming Crab:

Seafood | Scallops

Overall the scallops quota was cut about 15-18% versus last year (approximately 50 million pounds this year versus 59 million pounds caught last year).  Landings are 30% lower this year on larger count scallops versus this time last year (10/20 and larger). Landings of 20/30 scallops are averaging mostly 28/33 (and smaller) count. While food service demand is lower this year, very high retail demand has caused boat prices to firm. 2021 Fishing quota is expected to be lower than 2020 which will increase the boat price.

Chinese Flounder and Ocean Perch:

China production plants are still running at reduced volume (70%) as there is still a lack of demand around the world because of the Covid-19 impact. Pricing will most likely remain soft into the fall until suppliers have placed orders for the Holidays / Lent. Once this happen we may face an upward pressure on pricing.

Seafood | Salmon

Norwegian Salmon:

The Norwegian Salmon industry has been operating during the pandemic, and although volume is down the pricing affected the large fish (6+ Kg) the most as this was for Asian markets. The food service industry has been heavily impacted as we know, but retail business picked up a lot of this volume and as such kept harvesting and production moving. We are not sure  how all the producers will be handling the summer, but plan on them  shutting down plants for maintenance and limit harvesting as usual during vacation (July-August) period.  With a mild winter, less harvesting in  early spring we would think that we will see more volume pushed towards late summer and/or fall which normally will lead to pressure on prices, and more than the usual fall pressure. Prices are supposed to move up a bit based on FishPool, but we are not sure this will be the case as there is a large number of fish still in the water. Sea lice is becoming a bigger issue with warmer water and faster growth, so that could mean more small fish being harvested which again can affect future harvesting this fall.    But the biggest question remains  the exchange rate into the fall as the USD is getting weaker and weaker.  

Chilean Salmon:

As supply has become more available  a massive drop in foodservice demand as the COVID-19 pandemic widens,  has prompted mass closings of bars and restaurants and caused US salmon prices to fall, not rise.  While US foodservice demand for salmon had diminished some, the picture is not all gloomy, as the retail sector has been booming and has taken up some of the slack.    Note however even with the issues being reported government officials do not feel that this will affect production in Chile as they have been monitoring this closely at the plant level for some time and this industry is considered to be essential.  Even with potential shutdowns the industry is still exhibiting an oversupply situation but caution on costs softening more as of late.   For now prices are stable until further notice.