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Coconut oil exports fell by 41.9% from January to September — UCAP

/ 07:18 PM October 24, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine coconut oil (CNO) exports fell sharply in the first nine months of 2011 from the same period in 2010 due to less materials and slower export demand, preliminary estimates from the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) showed.

Coconut oil, which is used in food, cosmetics, and energy-related products, is one the Philippines’ top dollar earners.

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The industry group has not revised its full-year target despite the plunge but may consider doing so if present surveys show dimmer prospects for the last quarter of 2011.

UCAP estimates that coconut oil exports dropped 41.9 percent to 632,680 metric tons in the January-September period of 2011 from 1.09 million tons in the same period in 2010.

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For September alone, coconut oil exports dropped 46 percent to 49,689 tons in 2011 from 92,083 in 2010. Month on month, the September figure is also less than the August 2011 level of 54,199 tons.

UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said the industry group expected about 30 percent less coconut oil exports this year at 900,000 tons compared with last year’s 1.32 million tons.

Agustin attributed the declining CNO exports to the tight supply of raw materials (dried coconut meat or copra) in the domestic market after three years of successive good production, which stressed coconut trees.

Devastation from two typhoons that hit the Philippines in September also slowed the supply and delivery of copra to mills nationwide, she said.

Dire economic conditions in major coconut oil buyers such as the U.S. and Europe have not been helping exports either, Agustin said. Demand for coconut oil in the world market has apparently slowed and the high price of coconut oil due to low supply from the Philippines has made buyers shift to less costly alternatives like palm kernel oil. “The prices of CNO and palm kernel oil tend to switch ranking quickly so it’s hard to predict how prices will behave especially when supplies are not stable,” Agustin said.

UCAP is thus awaiting the Philippine Coconut Authority’s final figures for coconut production and outlook for the last three months of 2011.

PCA administrator Euclides Forbes has said that the Philippines will have a hard time meeting its coconut oil export targets for 2011 despite strong CNO prices because buyers can shift to palm oil. However, there has not been an official decision on the coconut oil export target.

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Agustin said final estimates from PCA would help UCAP decide whether it should keep its full-year target or revise it downward.

Agustin said that in 2010, the industry initially targeted only 1.2 million tons of CNO exports but better-than-expected performance in the last quarter pushed full-year figures to 1.32 million tons.

The Philippines, which ships out about 80 percent of its production, is presently the world’s biggest exporter of coconut oil.

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TAGS: Business, coconut oil, Cosmetics, Energy, Exports, food
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