June coconut oil exports at 2 1/2-yr low

Reuters

Posted at Jul 27 2011 12:40 PM | Updated as of Jul 28 2011 03:09 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Exports of coconut oil in June fell 74.7% from a year earlier to its lowest in two and a half years as copra supply remained tight, preliminary industry data show.

Shipments totaled 26,829 tons, just a quarter of the June 2010 exports of 106,018 tons, marking the seventh straight month of decline, the United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP) said in a report released on Wednesday.

Last year's El Nino drought phenomenon dried up some coconut plantations, resulting in slow copra output this year.

The Southeast Asian country, the world's biggest supplier of coconut oil, shipped a total of 428,830 tons in January to June, down 40.7% compared to the volume in the same period last year.

Coconut oil exports -- used in food, detergents and biofuels -- in June alone fell 45% to $52.3 million from a year earlier.

But generally higher prices this year brought total first half sales to $796.5 million, up 40.1% from a year ago, UCAP said.

The industry group has forecast coconut oil exports at 900,000 tons this year, almost a third lower than last year's shipments of 1.32 million tons.