Philippines’ coconut oil exports are expected to show higher growth for March after dropping by almost a fifth in February despite stable demand from traditional markets, the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP) said on Monday.
In a telephone interview, UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin said the country’s CNO exports reached 56,550 metric tons in February 2015, down by 18.6 percent from 69,476 MT during the same period in 2014.
The February CNO exports were also below the industry’s monthly shipment average of 80,000 MT.
“Raw materials were available during the period. It could be because of the short number of days” in February, Agustin said, adding that the export figures were still preliminary.
However, for the two months to February, CNO exports totaled 135,800 MT, or 21.4 percent higher than the 111,837 MT recorded in the same period a year ago.
The executive expressed confidence that CNO exports in March will register an improvement as traditional buyers replenish stocks and late shipments add up.
Meanwhile, Agustin said that the gap in the prices of CNO and its competitor, palm kernel oil, has started to narrow down, which is a “welcome” development since a bigger price differential usually encourages buyers to shift to the cheaper alternative.
In February, prices of CNO averaged $1,156 per MT, still higher than the market price of palm kernel oil at $1,057 per MT.
Coconut oil, which is used in food, cosmetics, and energy-related products, is one the Philippines’ top dollar earners.
At present, the Philippines exports over 70 percent of its coconut oil produce of which about 80 percent go to Europe and the United States.
For 2015, the industry has set an export target at 804,000 MT of coconut oil.