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September tea output up 11.9 percent on improved weather

30 October 2012 03:04 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka’s tea production rose in September for a second straight months on improved weather, data from the state-run Tea Board showed, after output dropped for six straight months from February as an extended drought hit output of the island nation’s top agricultural export commodity. “With the rains setting in, it will be better and we will be able to catch up the shortfall,” said Anil Cooke, head of tea broker Asia Siyaka Commodities.

Production has however fallen 1.4 percent over the first nine months of the year from a year ago.

Export revenue from tea has declined 9.4 percent over January to August to $890.5 million, central bank data showed, due to a dip in buying from Iran, which buys a fifth of Sri Lanka’s tea. Limited appetite for tea in the Middle East also has hurt shipments.

Tea is one of the $59 billion economy’s main foreign currency earners, along with remittances, garment exports and tourism.

At the start of the year, the Tea Board had forecast an output of 330 million kg, but later lowered it to 325 million kg because of the drought.

While production is expected to improve from September, it is still not clear whether Sri Lanka will be able to catch up with the shortfall in output of around 7 million kg or 3.1 percent in first eight months, analysts said.

(Source : REUTERS)
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