• Coconut oil exports slump on slow delivery of copra

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    Philippine coconut oil exports dropped by almost a fourth in June this year because of a slowdown in the delivery of copra, the United Coconut Association of the Philippines, Inc. (UCAP) said on Thursday.

    In a telephone interview, UCAP Executive Director Yvonne Agustin said the country’s CNO exports reached 63,408 metric tons in June 2013, or 22.5 percent lower compared to 81,787 MT a year ago.

    “One of the reasons for the decline is the slowdown in the delivery of copra, which has also affected CNO exports,” Agustin said.

    She said the decline is only temporary, citing rising exports in the previous months.

    “It’s just a temporary glitch, and we are confident that we will bounce back next month,” Agustin said, adding that demand from traditional markets – particularly Europe and the United States – remained strong.

    From January to June 2013, coconut oil exports reached 630,631 MT, 61 percent higher than the 391,471 MT during the same period in 2012.

    In May alone, coconut oil exports reached 136,985 MT, up by 83.6 percent from 74,613 MT a year ago.

    Also, average prices of coconut oil during the period remained competitive at $884 per MT, compared to palm kernel oil at $851/MT. Palm kernel oil, along with soybean oil, is the premier competitor in the world market.

    The industry forecast coconut oil exports to reach 900,000 MT in 2013, lower than last year’s 925,000MT.

    In a related development, UCAP welcomed the decision of the National Biofuels Board to increase the required minimum blend in oil products to 5 percent from the current 2 percent.

    Earlier, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told reporters that the board is finalizing tests on the use of coconut oil in biofuel mix, saying that they expect its implementation within the year.

    The Agriculture department is pushing hard to increase the use of coconut oil in biofuel mix to ease effects of production surplus, which depressed copra and coconut oil prices in the world market.

    Agustin expressed confidence that they could meet the additional volume required to raise the CME blend from the B2 to B5, saying that the country produces enough coconuts.

    The country consumes about 140,000 MT of coconut oil for the biodiesel blend.

    “To meet the required volume of 350,000 MT under B5, we would need an additional 210,000 MT of CNO. We can easily meet that volume,” Agustin said.

    JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ

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