Sri Lanka tea exports rise in 2008

Feb 10, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka exported 319.7 million kilos of tea and earned an estimated 1.26 billion dollars in 2008, but industry officials said shippers may not have received full payment given the collapse of the market towards the end of the year.

Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said in a market report that tea exports had done well in a “difficult year” with the volumes shipped being second only to the 327.4 million kilos exported in 2006.

The country exported 309.8 million kilos in 2007.

“The value of exports is a record 137.6 billion rupees, up 21 percent, compared with a previous high of 113.5 billion rupees earned in 2007,” they said in a market report.

In US dollars terms the export value at 1.26 billion was higher than the record one billion dollars earned in 2007.

But the brokers noted that exporters may not have received full payment.

“Considering the disastrous fourth quarter of 2008 following the global credit crisis it is unlikely that the country would have received full proceeds as declared in the shipment data,” Asia Siyaka Commodities said.

“Our estimate of dollar earnings is based on approximate conversion on declared rupee figures.

“During the period September to December 2008 and eve