Sri Lanka tea exports up to May at new high

July 07, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has earned half a billion dollars from tea exports in the first five months of the year, with volumes also hitting a new record of 129.4 million kilograms, brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said. But tea bag exports fell from 8.5 million in the 2007 period to 7.6 million kg this year.

“We believe this is mostly due to a shortage of filter paper used in manufacture of bags,” the brokers said.

“This has also contributed to relatively lower prices for high grown small leaf teas during the second quarter and many producers have been struggling to break even during this period.”

Russia and other CIS states remain the prime destination for Ceylon tea buying 29 million kg about the same as last year.

But the UAE has increased imports by 14 percent to 18.7 million kg from 14.4 million kg in the same period in 2007. Last year Sri Lanka exported 117.8 million kilograms of tea up to May.

“The previous record for the five-month period was 127.9 million kilos back in 2006,” Asia Siyaka said in a report.

“In that year exports hit an all-time high of 329 million kilos.”

Total earnings for the January to May 2008 period have peaked at 54.6 billion rupees up 40 percent agai