Sri Lanka’s tea exports have moved to the positive territory in the first quarter of 2016 (1Q16) with March showing a 6 percent year-on-year (yoy) increase. But the earnings in US $ dollar terms were the lowest since 2010. According to Customs data, tea exports in March 2016 stood at 26.7 M/kg, up from 25.1 M/kg recorded in the corresponding month of the previous year. In 1Q16 tea exports rose 2 percent yoy to 74.4 M/kg.
In February 23.6 M/kg tea was shipped and it showed a marginal increase yoy, whereas January’s 24.1 M/kg was lower than 2015 figure. Analysis from Asia Siyaka showed that 1Q16 rupee tea export earnings is marginally up at Rs. 45.07 billion compared with Rs. 44.39 billion a year ago. “In dollar terms however the approximate value of shipments for the period is at US $ 313 million against US $ 335 million in 2015 and, is sharply lower than the record $ 390.62 million earned during 1Q14,” stated Asia Siyaka.
“1Q16 earnings are in fact the lowest since 2010 which recorded US $ 305 million. In that year the quantity exported was 70.2 M/kg compared with 74.4 M/kg shipped during 1Q16,” it added. A Review of different segments of exports revealed mixed results. Shipments of tea in packets in 1Q16 have declined to 34.6 M/kg, 47 percent of the total compared with 36 M/kg (49 percent) yoy.
Tea Bag exports have increased however to 6.5 M/kg (9 percent) from 5.6 M/kg (8 percent) last year when shipments slowed following payment issues. Tea in bulk form shows a negative situation with quantities increasing to 31.6 M/kg (43 percent) of the total against 30 M/kg (41 percent) in Q1 2015. Russia/CIS is the prime destination for Ceylon tea exports during the quarter under review. Quantities improved marginally yoy from 13.1 M/kg to 13.5 M/kg. Interestingly, Sri Lankan tea exports to this cluster were 16.9 M/kg in 1Q14, 17.5 M/kg in 1Q13 and 18.6 M/kg in 1Q12, which is a loss of 27 percent in four years.(SAA)