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January 28, 2009

Indonesia: Astra Agro reports rise in crude palm oil sales
Indonesia's biggest listed plantation firm, PT Astra Agro Lestari Tbk, said on Tuesday its crude palm oil (CPO) sales volume rose 13.2 percent in 2008, supported by robust domestic demand, reported Reuters.

The firm sold 970,728 tonnes of CPO in 2008, against 857,824 tonnes in 2007, with domestic sales rising 21 percent to 860,114 tonnes last year, Astra Agro said in a statement on its website.

Astra Agro said the average CPO prices it received rose 19 percent to 7,134 rupiah ($0.63) per kg in 2008.

Benchmark Malaysian palm oil futures hit record highs of 4,486 ringgit ($1,238) per tonne in early March last year, but ended the year 44.43 percent lower year-on-year as economic slowdown sparked selloff in global commodity and equity markets.

Astra Agro had achieved higher average selling prices because during most of last year prices were higher compared to a year ago, said Tjahyo Dwi Ariantono, an investor relations officer.

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