Typhoon Haiyan

Philippine coconut oil exports fall 35pc after super typhoon Haiyan

Global prices forced up after last year's storm destroyed millions of trees

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 4:28pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 March, 2014, 10:50pm

Philippine coconut oil exports fell 35 per cent at the start of this year, driving up global prices, after the destruction of millions of trees by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

In normal times, the Philippines accounts for more than 40 per cent of world exports in the oil, which is used in daily items such as detergents, bath soap and margarine.

Haiyan, which killed or left missing about 8,000 people in November last year, also destroyed or severely damaged about 10 per cent of the nation’s coconut trees.

This led to coconut oil exports falling to 143,870 tonnes in January and February, a drop of 35.2 per cent compared to the same period last year, the United Coconut Association of the Philippines said.

Executive director Yvonne Agustin warned that a quick turnaround was impossible and said: “It will take several years for the supply to normalise, even if we replant what has been lost during the typhoon.

“We are, of course, projecting a reduction in volume this year, and that would lead to increased prices in the world market.”

Agustin said coconut oil prices were already “substantially higher” than before the typhoon, with the commodity currently trading at US$1,445 a tonne.

While she could not give exact pre-typhoon prices, the Indonesia-based Asian and Pacific Coconut Community reported on its website that coconut oil sold for US$810 a tonne in June last year.