Feb coconut oil exports fall 45%

Reuters

Posted at Feb 27 2009 08:01 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2009 04:01 AM

Philippine coconut oil exports fell for the eighth straight month in February, down 45 percent from a year earlier, because of weak global demand and low stocks, preliminary data from an industry group showed on Friday.

Shipments from the Southeast Asian nation, the world's biggest exporter of coconut oil, slid to 33,000 tonnes in Feb. 1 to 26 from 59,905 tonnes in all of February 2008, the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines Inc (UCAP) said.

That brought exports for the first two months of the year to 58,020 tonnes, down 68 percent from the 181,672 tonnes shipped abroad in the same period last year.

The industry group usually releases its complete preliminary monthly report three weeks after the end of the month.

Exports of coconut oil -- used in food, cosmetics and biodiesel -- are forecast to dip to 835,000 tonnes this year from 836,802 tonnes in 2008, UCAP said last month, citing increased demand for use as feedstock by local biodiesel producers and low stocks.

The Philippines exports 80 percent of its output of coconut oil. But it accounts for less than 5 percent of the global fats and oils market due to the drop in local production in the last two years and the growing popularity of other vegetable oils, such as palm.