February 2018 Market Conditions
Winter weather challenges slowed slaughter operations which moved beef prices slightly higher in response to solid demand. Typically, the market will start to soften in the next week or so as demand decreases.
Lamb supplies are still tight on all sizes of New Zealand frenched lamb racks and we expect this to be the case until at least April. The market is high on what product is available. The rest of the lamb markets remain steady.
The dairy veal market has had an increase on leg and top round cutlets due to tightening supplies. The other veal markets remain steady.
The butter market is expected to find support soon but the upside price risk is likely only modest during this winter.
The cheese markets continue to trade at a relatively engaging level due in part to ample supplies. Temporary support may be forthcoming as milk production is being slowed by cold weather.
The egg market is coming down after weeks of increases. Supplies are readily available with demand only fair
The milk market has increased as milk production has slowed partly due to the cold temperatures.
Spring wheat futures are very near the same value we saw a week ago; high protein hard red spring wheat basis premiums have fallen slightly. Hard red winter wheat future prices have risen sharply, and high protein hard red winter wheat basis premiums are firm to higher. Drought concerns are fueling the difference we are seeing between these markets. Official drought maps cover 100% of the Oklahoma crop, 83% of the Texas crop, 71% of the Kansas City crop and 84% of the Colorado crop. Only South Dakota and Montana reported no deterioration in their winter wheat conditions during January. Forecasts for another 30 days of dry weather in the U.S. southern plains states could indicate winter wheat and flour products produced with winter wheat will continue to see support for higher price moves.
Avocado prices are up due to supplies tightening up. Mexico has struggles with weather related issues. Heavy thunderstorms hit the growing regions causing harvest delays. California has just started to harvest, but not enough to boost up supplies yet.
Mandarin oranges 2017/2018 proves to be another tough season for mandarin oranges in China. Since the previous season was short there was practically no carryover before the new season. Raw material supply is short and a decrease in available labor in all packing areas, when compared to the previous year, forced factories to firm up their quotes to compensate for the decrease in production.
Orange Juice prices have firmed during the last few weeks but remain well below the post Hurricane Irma highs. A multi-decade small crop in the U.S. is being partially offset with bigger supplies out of Brazil.
Pineapple supply continues to remain great. Volume projections for the month of February and March are indicating very good volumes and sizing is good.
All species of tuna have been in short supply the past 6 months or so with prices climbing steadily. It seems there is no relief in sight now as landings of raw material are erratic and not enough to meet demand. The season for higher catches is typically around April; therefore no one is expecting relief in pricing until May or June at the earliest.
Over the last few months, sharply higher crude oil prices and a very weak U.S. dollar have combined to add underlying support to commodity soybean oil prices. The outcome of NAFTA could play a significant role in U.S. soybean oil export business as Mexico is currently the largest U.S. customer.
Pork output will seasonally decline this spring, but this year’s reduction may be limited by plentiful hogs. This should temper the typical seasonal gains for the pork markets. Pork belly prices are beginning to weaken.
Wing prices are expected to decrease as we’ve moved past the Super Bowl. Chicken breast and chicken tender prices typically move higher this time of year and are expected to do so for the next couple of months.
PRODUCE – FRUIT
Small navel oranges, 113’s and smaller, are in an extreme supply shortage situation. This is expected to continue through the navel season which typically runs from January to April. The market is firm.
Strawberry supplies have been consistent for the past few weeks. The market is firming as we approach Valentine’s Day but then expected to drop as demand decreases.
Pineapple tropical volume is good and is expected to remain that way through the end of February. The market is steady.
The Bartlett pears market is steady but high priced as supplies dwindle and the end of the season is near.
PRODUCE – VEGETABLE
Broccoli supplies are abundant from all growing areas. As a result, the market is steady at low levels.
The carrot market is steady with good supplies with the exception of jumbo-sized carrots, which are still tight.
Cauliflower has been trending lower as supplies more than exceed demand.
The lettuce market has remained flat on all varieties due in part to excess inventories. This is expected to continue for at least the next few weeks.
SEAFOOD – FRESH
Clam supply has been tight due to the cold weather so the market has increased.
Halibut filets are tight right now but there is refresh halibut available at a good price.
Many oyster varieties are still available with reasonable prices.
Dry Japanese U-10 scallops are becoming available and prices are reasonable. The market is steady.
SEAFOOD – FROZEN
Cod portions prices are increasing due to tight supplies.
Haddock product is available but prices are increasing as we approach Lent.
Snow crab cocktail claw prices are extremely high and product is difficult to get.
Coldwater Canadian lobster tails supply is tight on all sizes, especially large tails, and the market continues to increase.
Dart – 8% increase on foam and polystyrene based products, effective February 1, 2018
Dart – 8% increase on PET plastic products, effective March 1, 2018