Jan-May tea exports up 12.5% to Rs. 28 bil

July 8 (IL) Sri Lanka's tea exports during the first five months of this year have increased by 12.5% to Rs. 28.billion.

Quoting Customs data, Asia Siyaka Commodities said that volume of exports had increased by 5% to 119 million kilos.

The FOB value per kilo has moved up 7% from Rs. 219.76 per kilo in 2003 to Rs. 234.46 end May this year. Approximate earnings in US dollar terms have risen by 10% to $ 285 million.

Asia said that bulk tea shipments have grown whilst tea in packets had a noticeable drop. "Tea bag shipments however have increased but not sufficiently to compensate for a decline in volume in the larger Packet Tea segment," the produce broker said. As a result total value added exports are down to 38%, lowest for the period since 2000.

Asia also said that low orders to Libya, a 100% value added importer were prime causes for this performance downturn. Other markets continue to perform well with direct shipments to Russia/CIS accounting for 26% of all exports. Key distribution centres UAE, Turkey and Syria have accounted for around 9% each.

Meanwhile tea crop in the first five months of this year had increased by 3.5% to 132.5 million kilos while in the month of May it had grown by 12.4% to 30.4 million kilos. Low grown crop had increased to 74 million kilos in the first five months compared with 66.3 million kilos in the corresponding period of last year while high grown and medium crown has suffered declines