China dominates tobacco export earnings

CHINA continues to dominate Zimbabwe’s tobacco exports, as the Asian country has so far purchased 13,8 million kilogrammes (kg) of the crop valued at $114,5 million at an average price of $8,28/kg.

Figures released by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) indicate that as at July 17, Zimbabwe had earned a total of $222 million from the export of 47,1 million kg of flue-cured tobacco.

China has become the largest investor in Zimbabwe, which has been shunned by the West over its poor human rights record and is struggling to emerge from a deep 1999-2008 recession that forced the government to ditch its own currency in 2009.

Earnings from the China tobacco exports are expected to bring more liquidity to cash-strapped Zimbabwe in the wake of biting cash shortages which have seen thousands spending countless nights in bank queues trying access their hard-earned cash.

TIMB data also indicates that 62 countries bought the golden leaf, but the current export earnings and volumes remain lower than prior year comparable figures, given that for the same period last year, 47,1 million kg had been exported at $248,3 million.

Belgium is presently the country’s second most popular export destination after it spent about $7,9 million on 4,8 million kg of the golden leaf at an average of $1,65/kg followed by neighbouring South Africa which paid an average of $2,17/kg for 3,5 million kg at $7,7 million.

About 2,6 million kg of the country’s tobacco was exported to Russia in the period under review at an average price of $3,03/kg while $6,5 million worth of the crop was exported to the United Arab Emirates with an average price of $2,55.

Local auction and contract statistics also indicated a 5,9 percent decrease in the mass sold as 177,6 million kg went under the hammer in the period under review compared to the 188,7 million kg sold same period last year.

In terms of value, the local sales contracted 5,1 percent to $525,5 million from the $554,2 million recorded prior comparable period as the average price per bale marginally rose to 0,78 percent from $2,94 to $$2,96 this year.

This year’s highest price per bale was also down four percent to $6 from $6,25 last year while the lowest price remained flat at $0,10.

Bales sold locally were also down 4,89 percent to 2,3 million from 2,5 million during the same period last year.

The country made over $600 million in earnings from tobacco in the just-ended season after over 200 million kg of the leaf went under the hammer.


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