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By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, April 20) – Annual export volumes for copra oil from Papua New Guinea reached 54,400 tons last year – the highest figure since 1999, and a 20.6 percent increase from the 2004 annual figure of 45,100 tons.

The Central Bank reported in its Quarterly Economic Bulletin for the December quarter last year that the record increase in volume was attributed to higher sales of copra to two domestic mills for processing and exporting.

[PIR editor’s note: The copra industry in Papua New Guinea is regulated by the new Kokonas Industry Koporesen, which came into existence in 2001 through a government Act that deregulated the copra marketing function from its predecessor to the private sector. This deregulation has made it possible for more copra to be processed in Papua New Guinea.]

Export receipts last year were PGK93.7 million [US$32.7 million], an increase of 15.7 percent from PGK81 million [US$28.2 million] in 2004 and slightly lower from the highest annual export figure of PGK95.8 million [US$33.4 million] in 1999.

Volume of exports in the December quarter also reached a record 16,600 tons, the highest quarter figure since 2000, resulting in export earnings totaling PGK26.7 million.

The bulletin said the average export price of copra oil was PGK1,722 a ton last year – a decline of 4.1 percent from PGK1,794 a ton in 2004.

"The decline was due to lower international prices as a result of higher copra production from the Philippines and Indonesia, combined with the appreciation of the kina against the US dollar," the Central Bank said.

For palm oil, export volume was 295,200 tons last year, a decline of 12.9 percent from 339,000 tons in 2004. The decline was due to lower production attributed to unfavorable weather conditions combined with delay in shipments from major producing regions.

The average export price of palm oil was PGK1,146 a ton last year, a decline of 11.1 percent from PGK1,295 a ton in 2004. The decline reflected lower international prices associated with higher production from Malaysia and Indonesia, two of the world’s major producers, combined with increased supply of other edible oils in the world market and the appreciation of the Papua New Guinea kina against the U.S. dollar.

The combined decline in export volume and price resulted in export receipts of PGK339.5 million last year, a decline of 22.6 percent from PGK438.7 million in 2004.

April 21, 2006

The National:

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