Earnings from coco-oil exports to drop by 20%

Revenues from coconut-oil exports could decline by at least a fifth to $1.2 billion due to lower international prices, according to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

In terms of volume, however, PCA Administrator Romulo J. de la Rosa said coconut oil shipments for 2018 could rise by 8.46 percent to 1 million metric tons (MMT).

“We can hit 1 MMT of coconut oil exports this year. But if prices will remain at their current levels, then we can expect lower receipts, even if we ship 1 MMT,” de la Rosa told the BusinessMirror.

Receipts from coconut oil shipments expanded by 30.56 percent to $1.504 billion last year, from $1.152 billion in 2016. Coconut output in 2017 rose by nearly 17 percent year-on-year.

The United Coconut Association of the Philippines (Ucap) told the BusinessMirror that the industry is targeting to ship 1 MMT of coconut oil this year as local production is expected to sustain its recovery and rise further.

The Ucap said coconut output would expand by 8.6 percent to 2.607 MMT in copra terms this year, from the previous year’s 2.4 MMT. De la Rosa said total production may surpass the 14.06 billion nuts recorded in 2017 due to better weather conditions.

“Weather conditions are better this year compared to last year. We experienced more rainfall this year which could help boost coconut productivity. We will have a better harvest this year,” the PCA chief said.

The price of coconut oil in the world market declined for the 28th straight month in March on higher Philippine output as well as the global vegetable oil glut.

Price monitoring reports from the PCA showed that the international price of coconut oil sank and remained below the $1,100 per metric ton (MT) quotation at the start of May. As of May 10, the coconut oil quotation in Rotterdam was pegged at $1,085 per MT.

The World Bank has already slashed its forecast for the average price of coconut oil this year by 20 percent to $1,275 per MT, from its earlier projection of $1,593 per MT due to higher than expected production.

The latest report from the World Bank showed that the average price of coconut oil in the first quarter fell by 25.51 percent to $1,258 per MT, from $1,689 per MT recorded in the same period last year.

On a monthly basis, the average quotation of coconut oil in April reached $1,138 per MT, recovering from a 28-month low of $1,124 per MT recorded in March.

However, the April average price of coconut oil is nearly 28 percent lower than the $1,580 per MT quotation recorded in the same month of 2017.

The average price of coconut oil in 2017 reached $1,603 per MT, 8.67 percent higher than the previous year’s average of $1,475 per MT in 2016, according to the World Bank.

Coconut farmers are now reeling from the drop in copra prices in the first quarter. During the period, local production recovered and rose by 8.45 percent on an annual basis.

Coconut output in the first quarter reached 3.333 MMT, higher than the 3.073 MMT recorded in the same period last year, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority
(PSA) showed.

“This was a recovery from the effects of the dry spell in 2016 and the increased application of salt fertilizer provided by the PCA in the Davao region,” the PSA said in a report.

“More nuts were harvested due to adequate rains during the fruit development stage in
Soccsksargen and the recovery from Typhoon  Nina  that occurred in 2016 in Bicol region,” it added.

The PSA said coconut “was priced 15.88 percent lower this year as a result of higher
production.”

The average price of coconut in the January-to-March period was pegged at P7.46 per kilogram, lower than the P8.86 per kg recorded a year ago.

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Turning Points 2018