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U.S. weekly beef export sales slump reflects year-end cancellations

CHICAGO - U.S. beef export figures for last week fell sharply as shippers began their routine cancellation of sales as the end of the marketing year approaches in December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Thursday.

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Beef brisket. Forum News Service file photo.

CHICAGO - U.S. beef export figures for last week fell sharply as shippers began their routine cancellation of sales as the end of the marketing year approaches in December, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said on Thursday.

The USDA reported weekly net export sales of beef for the week ended on Oct. 22 at 400 tons, with South Korea the main buyer. That was down 96 percent from the previous week and was the lowest amount to date for the current marketing year, the agency said.

Government data showed that last week's sales were more than offset by cancellations by Hong Kong (3,000 tons), Japan (2,400 tons) and Senegal (1,100 tons).

Weekly beef exports for the next marketing year were at 8,500 tons, up from 500 tons for the week ended Oct. 15, according to the USDA.

"We're starting to get toward the end of the 2015 beef marketing year, so there are a number of sales that are now being made in the new marketing year," said Peter Burr, branch chief of the export sales reporting section of the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

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It is typical for this time of year to see cancellations as the end of the marketing year approaches, with some of them the result of exporters moving the delivery period into the new marketing year, Burr said. The 2015 marketing year for beef concludes on Dec. 31, he said.

Beef export sales tend to increase in the first week of January, reflecting product that had been carried over from the previous marketing year, said Burr. 

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