Coco oil exports seen missing $1 B target

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s export of coconut oil is not expected to bounce back this year amid the continuous slide in global prices.

The United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) said coconut oil export revenues will not likely hit the $1 billion target, which was almost the same level as last year’s earnings.

The expected increase in export volume of 970,000 metric tons from 951,000 MT last year will not offset the declining global prices.

“Looking at current market prices, it is really below our projected total price of $700 to $800 per MT. We are just around $600 to $650, maybe if the volume of coconut oil will further increase, then hopefully, revenues will also increase,” UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said in a briefing Thursday.

“But the thing is, our inventories in our export destinations are still high, unless these are reduced by consumption, then they can start buying again,” she said.

The current average price of $636 per MT is already the lowest on record since the 2013 level of $787 per MT.

Up to 85 percent of the local coconut economy is comprised of coconut oil.

Further, total revenues from the whole coconut industry exports are also expected to decline by 17 percent to $1.18 billion from $1.43 billion despite an increase in volume to 1.85 million MT from last year’s 1.76 million MT.

Other export coconut products are copra meal, desicated coconut, oleochemicals, coconut water, glycerin, hydrogenated coconut oil and coconut milk.

Data showed that there are 3.6 million hectares of land planted with about 338.7 million fruit-bearing coconut trees nationwide.

This accounts for 26 percent of total agricultural land in the country. Of the 81 provinces, 68 are considered as coconut producing areas.

In terms of yield, the Philippines produces 4,000 nuts per hectare annually, significantly lower compared with India that produces about 10,000 nuts per hectare yearly.  

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