Beef resistance: The cattle markets did not trade in sufficient volume last week to establish prices as packers were hesitant to acquire cattle due to a growing showlist and increasing consumer resistance to retail beef prices, according to Feedstuffs sources. At week-before levels, cattle were $125.50-128.00/cwt. on the Plains and in the Southwest.
Pork fundamental: The hog markets continued to stage an impressive run last week, with the "bullish fundamental" being demand for pork, which is very competitively priced in the meat case next to beef, sources said. Hogs were $83.17-83.78/cwt. on a lean carcass basis across the Corn Belt last Thursday, prices that were equivalent to a $63 live cash hog market and 1.3% higher than year ago -- above the year-ago level for the first time this year. However, analysts cautioned that packer margins were deteriorating and that packers are probably finished making serious bids for hogs.
Chicken supplies: Chickens weakened last week as supplies were growing and demand was seasonally softening, sources said. Chicken prices were down 2 cents to 85-98 cents and 85-93 cents/lb. in the eastern and midwestern regions last Thursday, 27.8% higher than year ago, and breast meat was down 2-3 cents to $1.16-1.21/lb., 3.0% more than year ago.
Egg supplies: The egg markets were unchanged last week at $1.36-1.40 and $1.30-1.32/doz. for large-sized eggs delivered to eastern and midwestern store doors last Thursday, 6.2% higher than year ago. Sources said producers were building supplies for the end-of-the-year holidays, which was bearish to the markets, but demand should begin picking up for the end of the year, possibly even this week, which will begin drawing down those supplies.
Turkey disappointing: The turkey markets were down 1-8 cents last week to a national average offer of 99 cents to $1.02/lb. for both hens and retail-sized toms, prices that were 7.4% lower than year ago. Sources said trading going into the holiday season was disappointing but noted that production has increased just too much this year. Fresh tom breast meat was $2.05/lb., 23.8% lower than year ago.
Dairy needs: Butter was down 2.25 cents last week to $1.59/lb. last Thursday, down 3.0% from last year. barrel cheese and block cheese were down 8.0 cents and 6.5 cents to $1.66 and $1.76/lb., up 5.7% and 5.1% from year ago. Sources said milk and cream suppliers were plentiful, and buyers were buying needs only.