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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Ukraine cuts February sunoil exports

KIEV (March 16 2003) : Ukraine cut its sunflower oil exports to about80,000 tonnes in February from 82,300 tonnes in January and 93,032 tonnesin December due to a lack of oil tanks, producers said on Friday.

"We have been forced to cut exports and stop several major vegetable oilplants after the railways said they could not give us enough oil tanks,"Lydmila Zinchenko, head of Ukraine's national vegetable oil producers'association, Ukroliyaprom, told Reuters.

"The reservoirs are already full and if the situation does not change,more plants could suspend crushing."

Ukraine has 26 large vegetable oil plants capable of crushing about 3.5million tonnes of sunseed a year.

Ukroliyaprom said Ukraine had produced 472,697 tonnes of sunoil betweenSeptember 2002 and January 2003 compared with 333,725 tonnes, producedfrom September 2001 to January 2002.

A higher 2002 sunseed crop led to the increase in output and exports, theassociation said.

Ukraine harvested 3.3 million tonnes of sunseed in 2002 after 2.25 milliontonnes in 2001.

Earlier this season, producers said Ukraine might export about 600,000tonnes of sunoil this season compared with 385,000 tonnes in 2001/02.

Government officials have said they expect Ukraine to increase sunoiloutput to 1.1 million tonnes in the 2002/03 (Sept-Aug) season from about900,000 tonnes in 2001/02.-Reuters