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Center of the Plate

Beef

There was some plant downtime early this week in the wake of widespread ice storms/power outages throughout the country's midsection. You wouldn't know that supply had been interrupted, however, by looking at beef prices. The market has been flat with most items readily available. Packers are losing money, so we will continue to see plant downtime until beef prices firm.

01/20/2017
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Cattle supplies are getting tighter, the result of smaller placements last year. Packers have been forced to pay more for cattle, bidding prices up to $1.20/lb vs $1.00 last October. Meanwhile, post holiday beef demand is slow with the prices of most cuts trending lower. Packer margins are now under pressure, pushed to near breakeven by the combination of higher cattle cost and lower beef prices. Look for packers to reduce production to support beef prices.

01/13/2017
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

01/05/2017
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Ground beef prices have bounced 30% higher in the last few weeks and continue to be supported by holiday-reduced production schedules. Rounds and chucks are in great shape, with asking prices trending higher. Strip features have cleaned up inventory, with higher asking prices being the rule. Tenders and ribeyes continue to adjust lower.

12/29/2016
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Ribs and tenders are available for discounts after the holiday, following a typical seasonal pattern. Chucks and inside rounds are well-cleared, with prices trending higher. Flats are tight. Ground beef prices have jumped 20% but may be running out of steam.

12/22/2016
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Ribeye and tenderloin prices appear to have topped out, as buyers' interest in buying fill-in inventory for holiday features winds down. Restaurant traffic from holiday shoppers is driving demand for ground beef and briskets. Packers are talking reduced kills and are trying to put more money on end cuts like chucks and rounds.

12/19/2016
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

The pace of holiday buying of ribs and tenders is winding down as the last of holiday needs are shipped. Both ribs and tenders are likely to adjust back to more normal price levels starting next week. Strips have been pursued for features, but pricing seems to be topping out. Ground beef and round cuts continue to be pushy.

12/09/2016
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Cattle prices have jumped 10% in the last 5 weeks; beef prices are up 2%. Packer margins, which were very high at the end of October, have come back down. Weekly cattle slaughter peaked in mid-November and should be smaller in December. Holiday price peaks for ribeyes and tenders should be reached this week or next. The outlook for other beef items is mostly flat.

12/02/2016
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Cattle prices continue to edge higher--up 2% a week for the last month. Boxed beef prices have been mostly sideways leaving packer margins a little thinner. While there is still enough margin to keep packers running full schedules, Saturday shifts are likely to be dropped. We are seeing higher prices for holiday items like tenders and ribeyes, but we are also seeing rounds, ground beef, ball tips and other cuts steady out after big volumes were cleaned up last week.

11/28/2016
Market Updates

Center of the Plate

Beef

Cash cattle is steady, with packers looking at reducing scheduled hours to keep beef from backing up. Almost all end cuts are in ample supply, with price discounts needed to keep them moving. Insides, flats and chucks are all lower for the week. Ground beef is also under pressure, but should improve as we enter the holiday shopping period.

11/18/2016
Market Updates

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