African countries have taken up a combined 43 percent of tobacco exports with South Africa topping the list, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board has said. This is an increase from the same period last year when African countries consumed only 18 percent of the total exports. Latest statistics from TIMB show that current seasonal tobacco exports to the Far East rose by 4 percent from last season’s 26 percent.
The increase in exports has been attributed to improved exports in China. The Middle East, which used to take more than 15 percent of total tobacco exports, made a huge slump to 2 percent in March this year.According to TIMB, this is a result of an 81 percent decrease in exports to the region. United Arab Emirates is the major player in the region with current monthly imports pegged at 133 000kgs.The UAE consumes cutrag tobacco, which has firmed up both in volume and price over the past two years.
Exports to the European Union have decreased from 36 percent to 18 percent. As at April 13, South Africa had imported 2,4 million kg of tobacco worth US$7,5 million from Zimbabwe at an average price of US$3,16 per kg followed by China which bought 2,3million kg at US$US$6,35 per kg and Belgium 1,6million kg at US$1,43 per kg.
Hong Kong was offering the highest price buying 415 800 kg of tobacco at US$6,70 per kg.Countries also offering high prices were Poland US$6,62 per kg, and Azerbaijan which bought 19 800kg at US$6 per kg. Zimbabwe exports tobacco to African countries which include Mozambique, Angola, Kenya, Congo, Malawi, Tanzania and Lesotho.
Tobacco stocks on hand are expected to go up as a result of increased stocks from the current crop.Flue cured tobacco imports remained stagnant at 515 152kg at an average price of US$2,70 per kg.
However, seasonal import permits issued increased to almost 12 million kgs as a result of authorisation granted to import 11 million kgs of tobacco. Tobacco production has been on the increase due to the favourable prices being offered on the market. The land reform programme has also contributed towards the increase in production with more than 80 percent of tobacco producers coming from the A1 and small-scale sectors. Source: The Herald (Zimbabwe).
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