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Sri Lanka first quarter tea exports in 2024 reach 6-year high of US $ 354 million 

April 19, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka anticipates US $ 1.3 billion revenue approximately from Ceylon tea exports in 2024, Sri Lanka Tea Board Chair Niraj de Mel said, adding that apparently first quarter export revenue was precursor for the possibility of  achieving this target.   

First quarter tea exports in $ terms had hit a six year high of $ 354 million, Asia Siyaka Research said yesterday quoting data published by Sri Lanka Customs.

Sri Lanka shipped 62 Mn kg during the period January – March 2024, up 15% on last year’s figure of 54 Mnkg. 

“Due to steady strengthening of the Sri Lankan Rupee against US$ YoY and lower auction prices, Rupee earnings show only a nominal change with an increase from Rs. 36 billion to Rs. 38 billion,” Asia Siyaka said.

“In USD however, the approximate value is $ 354 million was 13% more than the 2023 figure of $ 314 million. This year’s Dollar earnings are the highest since 2018; however, the country exported 68.8 Mnkg in Q1 of that year compared with 62.3 Mnkg in 2024,” Asia Siyaka added,

It said Iraq topped the list of biggest buyers with a quantity of 8.4 Mnkg amounting to 14% of all shipments in 2024. The UAE follows with 7 Mnkg, up 56% on last year. Shipments to Russia have grown 14% YoY 6.4 Mnkg. 

Turkey follows but quantities have declined a sharp 40% to 4 Mnkg. Iran has increased 166% YoY from 1.3 Mnkg to 3.4 Mnkg this year. Saudi Arabia has increased 39% YoY 2.5 Mnkg and is followed by China up 8% to 2.4 Mnkg.

However, Hayleys Group Managing Director and Planters’ Association (PA) of Ceylon Spokesperson Dr. Roshan Rajadurai noted that VAT has, in fact, cost of production as tea production inputs such as fuel, machinery, energy, chemicals and materials have increased. 

At the same time, there are opportunities for Ceylon Tea in the global market,  such as India anticipates to increase its domestic tea consumption which eventually results in India leaving the traditional Western and Russian countries from tea exporting. Sri Lanka can reap from such market situations, PA spokesperson further explained.  

Moreover, the Sri Lanka Tea Board Chairman  said that the application for Geographical Indication (GI) certification for Ceylon Tea within European Union (EU) countries could be submitted soon , “hopefully”. 

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