Ceylon tea had a good year in 2017 with production up and average prices hitting an all time high, Ceylon Tea Brokers PLC said in an industry overview published last week.

“Though export volumes were static compared to the previous year, export revenues established an all time record high in rupee terms,” the report said.

But it complained that despite the favorable trends, “the industry continued to be plagued with geo-political tension in the tea importing countries, policy decisions which affected the production of tea and temperature variability due to climate change,” and warned that these may affect industry growth.

Total tea production at 307.08 mn. kg. last year, was up 14.5 mn. kg. from the previous year. Despite the production gain, exports were up only a marginal 0.21 million kg. from a year earlier, the report said.

It noted that last year’s tea sale average at Rs. 618.14 (USD 4.04 a kilo) was up from Rs. 468.61 (USD 3.14) the previous year with low growns having the largest market share (64%) of the total. Price-wise, low growns averaged Rs. 637.40, mid-growns Rs. 563.54 and high-growns Rs. 600.93, the report said.

Last year’s Jan. – Dec. auction average Rs. 618.14 was the highest ever yearly auction average achieved, topping 2016’s Rs. 468.61, the report noted.

It said that Turkey remained the largest importer of Sri Lanka tea last year followed by Iraq and Russia.

“More importantly, cumulative tea exports to Vietnam (+207%), Taiwan (+40%), Turkey (+40%), China (+30%) and UK (+23%) have increased significantly whilst Syria (-39%), Kuwait (-31%), Iran (-19%), Ukraine (-17%) and UAE (-14%) have shown a noticeable decline against the corresponding period in 2016,” Ceylon Tea Brokers said.

“The sharp increase in imports by Vietnam probably points out to a tea hub being operated there.”


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