Virgin Islands to Buy

Plant in St. CroixST. THOMAS, Virgin Islands - The U.S. Virgin Islands has reached a memorandum of understanding to buy the closed Martin Marietta alumina plant on St. Croix for $45 million, Gov. Alexander Farrelly said Thursday.

Eric E. Dawson, the territory's commission of economic development and agriculture, said the Martin Marietta property will be developed into a multipurpose industrial and commercial park.

The property includes a deepwater port, desalination facility and power plant.

Malaysia Reports Drop

In Palm Oil Exports

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's 1987 palm oil exports fell 7.5 percent

from a year earlier to 4.22 million metric tons due to lower output, the Palm Oil Registration and Licensing Authority said.

India increased its purchases 23.4 percent from a year earlier, buying 1.06 million metric tons, about 25 percent of total exports. India bought more after a drought slashed its oilseed output, the authority said.

Exports to the European Community fell by 14.3 percent from a year earlier to 427,517 metric tons, due to palm oil's relatively high price compared with other oils, according to the agency.

Pakistan's purchases fell 32.9 percent from a year earlier to 430,183 metric tons. Palm oil's high price compared with other oils and a shortage of foreign exchange encouraged Pakistan to buy other oils, the agency said.

Argentine Beef Output

Expected to Fall in '88

WASHINGTON - Beef production in Argentina is forecast to fall to 2.54 million metric tons in 1988 from 2.7 million last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Herd culling, which has continued in Argentina since 1984, is expected to end this year, resulting in a slight increase in cattle numbers, the U.S. agricultural counselor in Buenos Aires said.

Chilean Copper Finds

New Ore Reserves

SANTIAGO, Chile - The Chilean Copper Corp., Codelco, has discovered new copper reserves at its mine in El Salvador, extending the productive life of the operation by another 20 to 30 years, said Samuel Lira, Chilean mines minister.

The new reserves were discovered by Codelco personnel late last year in the vicinity of the old mine.

The mine is expected to produce 117,000 tons of fine copper this year.

Brazil Cracks Down

On Coffee Exporters

SAO PAULO, Brazil - The Brazilian Coffee Institute has extended to 120 days

from 90 the retention period for coffee warehoused under a government retention plan in the case of companies that promise to ship coffee but fail to do so, a spokesman said.

Under the retention plan, exporters must warehouse one 60-kilogram bag of coffee with the institute for every bag they register for export. Ninety days after the registration, the company can claim the retained coffee from the institute.

However, many companies have been registering coffee for export but then were not meeting their export dates.

Therefore, the institute decided to penalize companies that do not actually ship coffee registered for export by extending the retention period to 120 days. Companies have until April 30 to put shipments up to date or face the 120-day retention period, the institute spokesman said.

Ghana to Halt Plans

To Raise Cocoa Output

ACCRA, Ghana - The Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod) will abandon all output expansion programs, but annual production will still be kept above 250,000 metric tons, Cocobod Deputy Director Joseph Hayford said.

He said Ghana expects the trend of low prices to continue for some time, and added that no more investments to establish new farms will be made and greater emphasis will be placed on improving top-quality beans.