Sri Lanka July tea crop down 11-pct

Aug 21, 2009 (LBO) – Production of Sri Lanka’s main export commodity, tea, remain well below last year’s level with the July output at 25.1 million kilos being 11 percent lower than the same month a year ago, brokers said. Tea production in other exporting countries is also down this year with the global shortfall during the first half of 2009 around 80 million kilos, excluding the crop from Argentina, the brokers said.

“Sri Lanka had a poor July and a probable low August (production). Supply will continue at low levels therefore, during this period of accelerated pre-winter buying.” The outlook for August is also not much better and the supply shortfall is likely to continue, they said.

“Sri Lanka™s cumulative shortfall for the year therefore is a massive 42.56 million kilos,” brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said in a report.

“All elevations have recorded sharp crop losses.”

Cumulative production so far this year is 157.03 million kilos against 199.59 million kilos last year.

Total production of low grown teas up to July this year is down by almost a quarter to 88.9 million kilos from 115.6 million kilos in the same 2008 period, Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said.

Low grown teas account fo