Coconut Oil (Reuters)

MANILA, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Coconut oil exports by thePhilippines jumped almost a quarter from a year ago to 69,729tonnes last month, industry data showed, putting the world’s topsupplier of the commodity on track to meet this year’s forecastfor overseas shipments.

The United Coconut Associations of the Philippines (UCAP)had in March pegged 2015 coconut oil exports at 804,000 tonnes,but a crop-damaging El Nino later in the year stoked worriesabout supply. Recent rains have, however, eased concernsstemming from dryness linked to the weather pattern.

Preliminary UCAP data on Monday showed coconut oil exportstotalled 69,729 tonnes in November versus 56,017 tonnes a yearago, after three months of declines. This brings shipments overthe 11 months to November to 782,531 tonnes, down 5.6 percent.

Jesus Arranza, president of the Coconut Oil RefinersAssociation, said he remained optimistic UCAP’s full-year exportforecast would be met.

“I think that’s still achievable. December last year weshipped more than 32,000 tonnes,” he said.

Exports of 804,000 tonnes would be above 794,000 tonnesshipped in 2014, but lower than a 2009-2013 annual average of990,000 tonnes before Typhoon Haiyan – one of the strongeststorms to make landfall ever – uprooted millions of coconuttrees in central Philippines in November 2013.

Arranza said the country could export a bigger volume nextyear. “The El Nino impact on coconut production next year maynot be as serious as we had anticipated after the strong rainsin recent weeks, which could help improve yields,” he toldReuters. He declined to give a forecast for 2016 exports.

Coconut oil, the Southeast Asian nation’s top agriculturalexport used in food, detergents and biofuels, is shipped mainlyto Europe and the United States and traded on the Europeanvegetable oil market. (Reporting by Erik dela Cruz; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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