The Philippines’ coconut oil (CNO) exports increased by almost a fifth in April this year as a result ofmstable demand from traditional markets and premium prices over its competitors, according to the United Coconut Association of the Philippines (UCAP).
In a telephone interview, UCAP executive director Yvonne Agustin on Thursday said the country’s CNO exports reached 71,650 metric tons in April 2015, up by 19 percent from 59,968 MT during the same period in 2014. It was also roughly the same level as the industry’s monthly shipment average of 80,000 MT.
For January-April 2015, CNO exports totaled 290,368 MT or 31.5 percent higher than last year’s level.
“We can say that the CNO sector is recovering as demand from traditional buyers continued to be stable,” Agustin said.
She earlier expressed confidence that CNO exports will bounce back starting the second quarter of 2015 as traditional buyers replenish stocks and late shipments add up.
“But we also have to remember that we have a low base comparison for this year,” Agustin said, citing the devastation from Super Typhoon Yolanda that hit the Philippines in November 2013.
The destruction slowed supply and delivery of copra to mills nationwide in the first quarter of 2014.
Agustin noted that a slowdown in the supply of raw materials–dried coconut meat or copra– in the domestic market have affected exports of coconut oil.
Meanwhile, she said CNO continued to enjoy premium prices at $1,063 per MT as compared to its competitor palm kernel oil at $968 per MT. A bigger price differential usually results in buyers shifting to the cheaper alternative.
Coconut oil, which is used in food, cosmetics and energy-related products, is one of the Philippines’ top dollar earners.
At present, the country exports over 70 percent of its coconut oil produce, of which, about 80 percent of the shipments go to Europe and the United States.
Agustin said the industry is confident that it will hit export target of 804,000 MT for this year.