By Shabiya Ali Ahlam Sri Lanka’s tea industry continued to witness dampened progress with exports recording a year-on-year (YoY) slump of 23 percent this May. According to the latest statistics released by the Ceylon Tea Board, the total quantity of tea exported in May 2016, including re-exports with imported tea, amounted to 21.26 M/kg, showing a decrease of 6.35M/kg compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
However, the FOB price per kilogramme for the month was Rs.617.51, vis-à-vis Rs.597.39 when compared to the same period last year. An analysis of cumulative figures from January to May 2016 shows that the total exports, including re-exports with imported tea, amounted to 117.89 M/kg as against 123.75Mn/kg, a YoY drop of 5.86 M/ kg. In value terms, cumulative export earnings stood at Rs.71.61 billion, showing a decline of Rs.2.84 billion against the same period last year. A country-wise analysis of exports by commodity brokerage Ceylon Tea Brokers showed Iraq being the largest export destination, followed by Russia and Iran.
However, cumulative exports to Turkey—the fifth largest export destination—have dipped 45.56 percent to 6.93 M/kg compared to the same period last year. In the meantime, tea production also moved towards the negative territory with May 2016 having recorded a total of 30.6M/Kg compared to the 32.4 M/kg achieved in May 2015, a shortfall of 1.8 M/kg.
The cumulative tea production for the period of January to May 2016 showed a YoY decline of 15.11 percent having recorded 128.29 M/kg as against 143.40 M/kg in 2015. In terms of elevation, high grown tea production increased by 0.05. M/kg, whereas medium growns and low growns showed a dip of 0.31 M/kg and 1.54 M/ kg, respectively, compared to the previous year. CTC tea is observed to have recorded 2.0 M/kg for the month of May 2016, vis-à-vis 1.7 M/kg for the same period last year