INDONESIA'S PALM OIL JUMP-PAPER
JAKARTA, May 18 (Reuters) - First quarter palm oil exports fromIndonesia's key Belawan port in North Sumatra more than doubled from thesame period last year as traders capitalised on the plunging rupiahcurrency, a newspaper said on Friday.Trade and Industry Ministry data in North Sumatra showed palm oilexports rose to 181,260 tonnes in the first quarter of 2001 compared to79,047 tonnes in the same period of 2000.About 80 percent of Indonesia's palm oil is exported from Belawan. Therest is shipped from Dumai port in Riau, also on Sumatra island and fromseveral ports in Kalimantan.Indonesia is the world's second largest palm oil producer afterMalaysia.Leading Bisnis Indonesia daily quoted T. Azwar Azis, the head of theinternational trade division, saying the biggest export volume was 70,619tonnes, recorded in March.Azis said exports were expected to increase in April and May due to theweak rupiah"But exports will probably fall in June because domestic stocks willhave decreased by then," Azis was quoted as saying.At 0205 GMT the rupiah was quoted at 11,325/11,350 against the dollar.The currency last month touched lows not seen since September 1998. Ithas fallen by at least 15 percent since the beginning of this year onconcerns over the country's political and economic crisis."Although international prices of palm oil are on a downtrend,exporters continue to export because they still can get profit from therupiah exchange rate," a trader in Jakarta said.