ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Tea exports fell 6.91 percent in January 2022 to 19.38 million kilograms from 20.82 million kilograms from a year ago, with Russia and Iraq the top buyers, industry data showed.

Purchas by China had dropped from 1.5 million kilograms in January 2022 from 738,000 kilograms last year.

The island’s tea production has dropped 0.36 percent in January 2022 to 22.82 million kilograms from 23.18 million kilograms in 2021.

“Elevation wise analysis shows that for the month of January 2022 Low Growsn had recorded a decrease of 1.53 million kilogram whilst High & Medium Growns recorded an increase of 0.59 million kilogram and 0.58 million kilogram increase respectively when compared to the same period in 2021,” Ceylon Tea Brokers, a Colombo-based brokerage said in a report.

The free on board (FOB) price per kilo for the month of January 2022 was 948.24 rupees, up from 923.99 rupees a year earlier.

The January monthly average price for tea was 3.50 US dollars (704.67 rupees) compared to 3.30 US dollars (645.02 rupees) in January 2021, according to Ceylon Brokers data.

“Total export earnings shows a decrease of 0.86 Billion rupees (-4.46%) for the month of January 2022 as against the corresponding month in 2021,” Ceylon Tea Brokers said as the volume drop outpaced price gains.

The average price was 4.70 dollars a kilogram in January from 4.62 a year earlier.

Iraq was the top buyer of Ceylon Tea in January buying 3.80 million kilograms, up from 1.79 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile Russia remained at the second place buying 2.56 million kilogram higer than pervious year’s 2.46 million kilogram.

UAE bought 2.03 million kilograms, up from 1.11 million last year.

The crisis hit Libya bought 1.13 million kilos in January 2022.

Turkey who was a key buyer in 2021 slipped to 10th place buying only 0.52 million kilogram from the corresponding years 3.82 million kilogram.

China, which had been an emerging key buyer bought only 0.74 million kilograms compared to 1.51 million kilogram last year. CIS countries bought 1.06 million kilos, down from 1.07 million last year.