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Abaca exports hit $36 M in 3 months

MANILA, Philippines — Export earnings from abaca products went up 13 percent in the first quarter  amid an increase in volume demand from major markets, the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) said.

According to PhilFIDA, abaca export sales reached $35.5 million from January to March compared to $31.5 million in 2016.

Abaca pulp accounted for $25 million of total exports, up 24 percent year on year.

Shipments to Europe rose 35 percent to 4,095.8 metric tons (MT), while shipment volume to the US improved two percent to 447.3 MT.

Markets in Asia purchased 1,116.4 MT, nine percent lower than the previous year.

Total volume of abaca pulp exports went up 20 percent to 5,896 MT.

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Exports of fabrics, meanwhile, reached $300,000, more than double the  $130,000 recorded a year ago.

The value of raw fiber exports also increased 38 percent to $8.2 million.

On the other hand, the value of outbound shipments fiber crafts and cordage fell 87 percent and nine percent, respectively.

Fiber crafts exports slumped to $431,000 from $3.4 million, while cordage exports dipped to $1.9 million from $2 million in 2016.

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

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

Abaca remains one of the top agricultural commodities of the country,  supplying more than three fourths of the total abaca fiber market.  It contributes $111.33 million in earnings in global trade annually.

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