Sri Lanka coconut prices may ease, but not much

Jan 16, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan coconut prices which have soared in recent months are expected to ease by end-February as new crops come in but will remain high as world edible oil prices were high, industry officials said. “The shortage of nuts could ease towards the end of February but I’m not sure whether prices would come down fast because prices are reflecting world market trends,” said Denzil Aponso, former president of the Coconut Growers Association.

“The pattern is that usually the crop is lowest during November-January but generally for the first crop by end-January to be usually higher than December.”

He estimates the harvest in 2007 to have been around 2900 million nuts against 2600 million nuts in 2006.

According to Central Bank data, the crop up to October 2007 was 2,443.5 million nuts, an increase of 5.7 percent over the same 2006 period.

Money Printing

Coconut prices have been rising along with vegetables, fruits and fish as Sri Lanka registered 16.4 percent inflation by one index and 18.8 percent by another as the Central Bank printed 45.2 billion rupees to finance the government.

Retail prices of coconuts of the standard size of 13 inches in circumference hit 30-35 r