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Abaca exports up 40%

MANILA, Philippines - Export earnings from abaca products went up almost 40 percent in the first five months of the year due to an increase in all markets, the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) reported.

Export earnings for January to May this year reached $51.4 million, up 39.4 percent from $36.8 million in the same period in 2015, the agency said.

Exports of abaca pulp increased 62 percent to $34.2 million from $21.1 million.

Shipments to the US surged eight-fold to 964.6 metric tons (MT) from 102.5 MT in the same period in 2015.

Volume of shipments to Asia also spiked 46 percent to 1,601.7 MT from 1,096.3 MT, while shipment volume to Europe was 33 percent higher to 6,011.7 MT from 4,530.8 MT in the year-ago period.

The total volume of abaca pulp exports jumped 50 percent in the January to May period to 8,578 MT from 5,730 MT in the same period in 2015.

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Meanwhile, the value of outbound shipments of fabrics and cordage registered declines of 30 percent and 37 percent, respectively, for the period.

Fabric exports contracted to $341,113 from $483,746, while cordage exports shrunk to $3.2 million from $5.1 million in 2015.

Exports of fiber crafts, on the other hand, was placed at $4 million, up 76 percent from $2.3 million in the first five months of 2015.

Meanwhile, the value of raw fiber exports increased 22 percent to $9.6 million from $8 million in the comparative period, with total volume of exports slightly inching up 1.4 percent to 42,490 bales weighing 125 kilograms each in the period from 41,898 bales.

Abaca is a material used for making tea bags, casing of meat sausages, surgical masks and cigarette paper.

Philippine abaca products are sold to countries like the US, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, China, Taiwan and South Korea among others.

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