Tea’s Dollar Value Shrinks
By Paneetha Ameresekere
Tea’s export prices in US dollar terms, year on year (YoY), shrank last month (May), Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers’ data released on Wednesday showed.
Whereas the average fob price for a kilo of tea last month was US$4.69; in May 2020 however, its price was higher at $4.83, showing a YoY contraction of 3.26 per cent ($0.14). However, in rupee terms, its value, YoY had grown by 2.09 per cent (Rs18.80) to Rs 916.47 a kg, fob. However, overall, tea’s average fob price in the first five months of the year vis-à-vis the first five months of last year grew by five per cent ($0.23) to $4.83 fob per kg in dollar terms and in rupee terms by 11.06 per cent (Rs 93.34) to Rs 937.09 a kg. Meanwhile, tea production in the first four months of the year over its corresponding period last year grew by 39.72 per cent (29.59 million kgs) to 104.09 million kgs, aided by the COVID-19 induced lockdowns of last year during this period, where the country in April 2020 was in total lockdown, thereby impeding tea production.
Meanwhile, tea exports, both in rupee value and volume terms grew in the first five months of the year, growing by 21.67 per cent (Rs 18.36 billion) YoY to Rs 103.07 billion and by 9.55 per cent (9.59 million kgs.) to 109.99 million kgs.
The country’s top 25 export markets in descending order of export volumes in the first five months of the year on a cumulative basis were Turkey, Iraq, Russia, U.A.E., China, Azerbaijan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Chile, Japan, Jordan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, U.S.A,. Taiwan, Lebanon, Ukraine,, Hong Kong, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Egypt, Israel and Ireland. Tea, after remittances and garment exports, was Sri Lanka’s third largest foreign exchange earner last year according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.