EARNINGS from abaca exports rose 4.8% year on year to $97.71 million in the seven months to July, according to the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA).

PhilFIDA said abaca pulp accounted for 80.2% of total abaca exports, valued at $78.32 million, up 11.2% year on year.

Europe was the top destination for pulp, accounting for 72.7% of the total, amounting to 12,922.18 metric tons (MT), down 2.9% from a year earlier.

Leading European buyers include Belgium, Germany, the UK, France, and Sweden.

Shipments of abaca pulp to the US rose sharply to 2,343 MT from 835.26 MT a year earlier.

Exports to Asia rose 14.1% to 2,502.54 MT, equivalent to 14% of total pulp exports.

Top Asian markets are Japan, China, Singapore, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Thailand.   

Overall, abaca pulp exports rose 8.7% year on year to 17,767.77 MT.

Shipments of abaca cordage fell 48% year on year to $2.47 million.

Other segments posting declines were fabrics and yarns at 15.5% to $456,861 and fiber crafts at 43.7% to $531,862.

PhilFIDA said the value of raw fiber exports in the first seven months fell 3.5% year on year to $15.92 million.

Abaca goes into products like surgical masks, cigarette paper, furniture, and clothing, among others. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave