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Palm oil exports up, while profits dip

Exports of crude palm oil from the Mong Reththy company – the Kingdom’s sole producer of the product – increased 16 per cent last year, although prices were down about $200 per tonne from 2013.

While the company exported 19,000 tonnes of crude palm oil in 2013, the figure rose to 22,000 in 2014. But average prices dropped from about $800 per tonne in 2013 to $610 last year, cutting significantly into revenue.

Mong Reththa, vice chairman of the board of directors at Mong Reththy Investment Cambodia Palm Oil and son of Mong Reththy, said that while his company managed to turn a small profit, this year may prove difficult.

“We don’t think we can even make a profit in 2015 as the prices in the international market have declined significantly, even lower than our production costs,” he said.

Reththa added that production was slated to rise to 26,000 tonnes this year. “Our company always expands the production every year by using capital from our profits, but [prices] this year mean that some of our expansions have been suspended.”

Mong Reththy Investment Cambodia Palm Oil has planted palm oil trees on 16,000 hectares, of which 8,000 are ready for harvesting. The plantation provides jobs for about 2,000 people in Sihanoukville province.

Srey Chanthy, an independent analyst who specialises in agriculture, said the decline in crude palm oil prices could affect the income of workers on the plantation, but would not have any immediate national impact.

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