Sri Lanka tea exports fall but earnings rise

Oct 08, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea exports up to August this year were sharply lower than in the same 2006 period but export earnings were higher, a tea broker said. The island exported a total of 200.8 million kg of tea in January-August 2007, 15 percent lower than the 218.1 million kg shipped in the same 2006 period, according to Customs data analysed by Asia Siyaka Commodities.

Of this total, pure Ceylon tea exports consisted of only 191 million kg against 210 million kg exported in 2006, a nine percent drop.

But Ceylon and imported tea blended exports increased this year to 9.7 million kg from 7.5 million kg the year before.

“Sri Lanka’s export earnings, however, have risen 15 percent to 68.8 billion rupees from 59.7 billion in 2006,” the brokers said.

This converts to an approximate FOB (free on board) value of 343.06 rupees per kg in 2007 against 273.92 rupees per kilo in 2006.

“While the depreciation of the Sri Lanka rupee helped inflate rupee earnings, it must be noted that in US dollars too earnings have grown,” Asia Siyaka Commodities said.

The island earned about 625 million dollars from tea exports to end-August 2007,