Sri Lanka ships less tea, benefits from weak rupee in first quarter 2012

Chandi Dharmaratne

May 17, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka, one of the world™s biggest exporters of black tea, shipped less brew during the first quarter of this year, but a weak rupee helped maintain export revenues, a report said. From January to March, the tropical island sold 75.8 million kilos of tea to overseas buyers, which was two-percent lower than 77.4 million kilos of tea shipped during the same period a year earlier, Asia Siyaka Commodities Limited said Thursday.

The island™s green gold, that is marketed under its colonial name Pure Ceylon Tea is made with tender leafs and buds.

Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, account for most Sri Lankan tea shipments, followed by the Middle East.

The commodity broker said export revenues remained flat at 40.0 billion rupees during the comparative quarters. In dollar terms, exports were 332.4 million dollars, which was 10.0 percent lower than 369.8 million dollars earned in the 2011 quarter.

The weaker rupee has played its part as the currency depreciated from around 113.90 rupees to a dollar in January to 128.91 rupees in March, the brokerage said.

Most of Sri Lankan tea is shipped in bulk form. The report said bulk tea exports edged-up