Daily Choice boxed beef has started climbing again in the first week of November. Rib, chuck, and round all inched higher throughout this week, giving hope to some seasonal demand for cuts born from those primals. Last year, choice boxed beef was setting a new record, and at that time was the highest value for the cutout. This year, that cutout value was eclipsed in April, but values and have been unable to climb over a year ago since about mid-October.
Choice boxed beef cutout has not been above a year ago since October 7th. Similarly, the rib was above a year ago for the first 10 days or so of October, and chuck values held out a little longer making gains on 2019 on a daily basis until October 12th. The loin had daily values over a year ago, but those too faded around mid-October. Flanks had a few days of plus 3% but quickly faded to down as much as 12% at points so far this quarter. The decline in the cutout is about 10% below a year ago, ribs about 4%, chuck down 9%, loins down 12%, and flanks down 10% year-over-year in Friday’s data.
The round, brisket, and short plate have not been above a year ago so far this 4th quarter. Since October briskets have seen the largest decline, down between 30-22%. Short plates have ranged between 20% down and 5% lower. The round had been perhaps the most consistent wavering between 5-9% down.
Beef demand in the 4th quarter in recent years has been supportive for cattle prices. This number is one we will have to continue to watch this year for signs the U.S. economy is recovering, though all primals are not considered equal in this timeframe. Rib primal values have been the primary benefactor of increased consumer demand in other years while chuck and rounds, seem to have more staying power through the first quarter.