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Black tea imports from India plummet 34pc

KARACHI: Black tea imports from India plunged 34 per cent year on year to 11,708 tonnes in 2016 amid soaring tensions between the two countries.

The import deficit was met through improved arrivals from Kenya, Vietnam and Rwanda, thus pushing up overall imports. Pakistan procures tea from northern and southern regions of India, which are the second biggest source of imports after Kenya.

According to data released by the Pakistan Tea Association, 8,626 tonnes arrived from South India at an average price of $1.2 per kilogram as compared to 14,011 tonnes ($1 per kg) in 2015. From North India, tea imports fell to 3,082 tonnes ($1.87 per kg) in 2016 from 3,742 tonnes ($2.46 per kg) in the preceding year.

Foreign media reported earlier that Pakistani traders had trimmed purchases of Indian tea due to heightening tension. However, an importer said lower imports in 2016 had nothing to do with fragile relations between the two neighbouring countries as tea trade still continued. “Actually, tea imports from India are not feasible due to higher price in South India,” he added.

Overall tea imports stood at 173,000 tonnes ($428.6 million) in 2016, in which the share of Kenya stood at 130,000 tonnes ($350m). In contrast, total imports in 2015 were 151,000 tonnes ($420m), with Kenya’s share being 101,000 tonnes ($318m). The average price of Kenyan tea stood at $2.69 per kg in 2016 versus $3.13 per kg in 2015.

Pakistan’s annual estimated tea consumption hovers between 220,000-235,000 tonnes, of which 170,000-180,000 tonnes land via legal channels and the rest through informal channels. Imports from crisis-hit Rwanda increased to 11,238 tonnes from 10,785 a year earlier.

There were nil imports of black tea from Bangladesh as compared to 307 tonnes in 2015. Imports of tea from Burundi in 2016 were 4,757 tonnes (at $2.3 per kg) as compared to 5,343 tonnes ($3.16 per kg) a year earlier.

Pakistan imports tea from 20 countries. Tea imports from Tanzania fell to 3,196 tonnes in 2016 from 4,226 tonnes, while from Uganda thet declined to 2,726 tonnes in 2016 from 3,265 tonnes in 2015. Imports from Vietnam swelled to 3,045 tonnes last year from 1,393 tonnes.

GREEN TEA: A total of 838 tonnes of green tea costing $1.4m were imported in 2016 as compared to 980 tonnes worth $1.8m in 2015 despite a drop in the average price to $1.69 per kg from $1.84 per kg in 2015. Of the total, 618 tonnes came from China.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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