Sri Lanka sets a record for January tea exports

Feb. 23 (LBO) – Sri Lanka shipped 24.8 million kilos of tea in January, the highest ever in a single month, a commodity brokering house said Thursday. The previous highest record was 24.6 million kilos of tea sold in January 2004, Asia Siyaka Commodity Brokers said.

Revenues from tea exports for January was also the highest ever so far topping Rs6.8 billion (US$ 67 million) over Rs6.4 billion (US$64.9 million) reported in 2005.

“There is a massive boom in the market in terms of prices and production these days due to an ongoing drought in Kenya,” notes Anil Cooke, Asia Siyaka’s Senior Vice President.

“It’s a bit difficult to give a full-year forecast because we are not too sure the extent of Kenya’s drought so far,” he said.

Sri Lanka, one of the world’s top tea exporters, sold a record 308 million kilos (2.83 percent higher than 2004) last year.

The island’s tea competes head on with Kenya in the world market, but the official Kenyan tea board reported exports of 349 million kilos in 2005, to laying claim to be the top exporter.

Sri Lanka earned US$814 million from tea exports last year, up from US$741 million in 2004, Asia Siyaka said.

Tea is Sri Lanka’s largest single net foreign exchange earner after remittances from its countrymen employed abroad.

-LBO Newsdesk: LBOEmail@vanguardlk.com