India Dec tea exports jump 37 pct on global shaortfall

KOLKATA, Feb 9 (Reuters) - India’s tea exports rose by 36.9 percent in December 2009, on the back of improved demand driven an overseas recovery and a global production deficit, a Indian Tea Association official said.

Data released by the Tea Board showed, total exports in December stood at 22.24 million kg as against 16.24 million kg a year ago.

“With the global economic recovery, the demands from various tea importing companies improved significantly in the last three months. This apart, other tea exporting countries like Kenya, Sri Lanka are facing a huge production deficit, which has also helped Indian tea exports,” S Patra, Joint Secretary, Indian Tea Association, told Reuters.

While India’s total tea production during January-December was down marginally at 978.9 million kg compared to 980.81 million kg a year earlier, production in Kenya and SriLanka during the same period was down by more than 9 percent, he said.

Tea production globally during 2009 was down by 2.83 percent at 1838.9 million kg as against 1892.5 million kg during 2008, the data showed.

India’s total exports in 2009 fell 5.7 percent to 191.5 million kg, the Tea Board said.

Exports were hit in the first half of 2009 as output was severely depleted due to drought-like conditions in growing regions and fall in overseas demand due to the global economic downturn.

India exports CTC (crush-tear-curl) variety of tea mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the UK and the premium orthodox variety of tea to Iraq, Iran and Russia.

Reporting by Niladri Bhattacharya; Editing by Ramya Venugopal