Harare — A TOTAL of 4 539 tonnes of tobacco worth US$18,8 million was exported to different countries last month.
The tonnage exported was an improvement from the 1 500 tonnes achieved the previous month. The seasonal exports as at August 31 2009 were 28 264 tonnes, 59 percent below 2008 volumes. Cumulative annual exports in 2008 were 61 337 tonnes.
In the corresponding period last year US$136 million was earned. The seasonal average export price of US$4.39 per kg remains firmer than that of the previous season of US$3.02 per kg in a similar period.
Monthly earnings for August increased seasonal earnings for the year to US$124 million. Of the total, 1 522 tonnes were exported to EU countries, mainly the UK, Belgium and Ireland which are the top three countries in the region, which contributed more than 70 percent of the seasonal exports of 10 477 tonnes.
Exports to the rest of the European countries including Germany, France and other major importers have dropped significantly causing this year’s exports to remain below 2008 volumes by 20 percent. Russia continued to be the leading importer with a cumulative intake of 1 538 tonnes.
China and Vietnam were the only countries, which imported a total of 188.7 tonnes in August. Seasonal exports to the region at 7 945.1 tonnes have remained below 2008 levels by 64 percent.
China the tobacco consuming powerhouse of the region had a cumulative intake of 7 281 tonnes since the beginning of the year. The Middle East imported 1 157, 3 tonnes of tobacco in August, with Dubai being the only country which imported outstanding tobacco volumes in the region.
In Africa, Mozambique and South Africa are the only countries in the region, which imported 991 tonnes in August bringing total exports to 4 694 tonnes during the period January to August 2009.
Other importing countries include Botswana, Sudan and Egypt. Exports to the region have dropped by 36 percent in comparison to 2008 levels in a similar period.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said higher average prices this year were attributed to higher demand of the local crop on the international market.
“It is interesting to note that the average green purchase price of US$3.21 for 2008 was much higher than the export price of $3.02/kg, perhaps an indication that merchant profits were marginalised last year under the depressed economy.
He added that using an average decline rate of 35 percent, 2009 exports were likely to go down to approximately 40 000 tonnes by the end of the year. “Stock volumes will likely close around 50 000 tonnes for the local crop excluding imports,” he said.
Stocks on hand as at the end of August 2009 increased slightly to 86 896 tonnes from 81 700 tonnes last month. During the same period last season stocks were 52 203 tonnes and in 2007 they were 85 306 tonnes.
As the curtain comes down on the 2009 selling season the high export trend is expected to continue, as the majority of merchants will now concentrate on processing rather than purchasing.
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