Tea production in the major producing countries through the 12 months ending in
May was comparable to the June 2015-to-May 2016 period, but cumulative totals do not account for wide variations by country.
India had an outstanding spring with 1.063 million metric tons harvested in the northern regions and 226,960 metric tons (mt) in the south. Bangladesh similarly showed gains from 72,353 mt through May 2016 to 84,278 mt for the 12 months ending May 2017. Severe flooding in Sri Lanka sharply reduced the harvest by 21,000 mt and Kenya was off by 48,000 mt, according to statistics compiled by the International Tea Committee in London.
The 12-month cumulative total was 2.193 million mt through May 2017 compared to 2.193 million mt during the previous year and 2.182 million mt for the June 2014-to-May 2015 period.
Aggregate tea production across India, Kenya, and Sri Lanka increased by 3.5 percent during the 2016 crop year, primarily due to a surplus in the Kenyan crop but Indian production was also up 2.5 percent. Sri Lanka experienced a very sharp 11 percent decline in tea production during that period.
Sri Lanka remains under pressure with heavy flooding while Kenya is experiencing drought.
Tea Import Summaries
Tea imports are up through May because Canada is drinking more green tea and increasing trade with the U.K., Kenya, Sri Lanka and India. Total imports are 8,698 mt cumulative through May, according to the International Tea Committee. Green tea accounted for 1,787 mt, up from 1,427 mt for the same period through May 2016. Black tea imports were 6,911 mt through May 2017, up from 6,155 mt during the same period ending May 2016. Re-exports (processed tea shipped by Canada to other destinations) totaled 1,093 mt through May up 34 percent compared to the previous year.
Tea Export Summaries
Production overall continues to decline. Indonesia shipped 51,464 metric tons in 2016, down by 10,000 metric tons from 2015. Of the total, 3,994 metric tons was destined for the U.S., up from 3,842 exported during 2015. Steep declines in orders from the U.K., Germany, Pakistan and Russia (CIS) account for most of the decline, with exports to the U.K. down by 60 percent compared to 2015.
Argentina produced 76,753 metric tons of black tea in 2016, up from 73,867 in 2015. Green tea totals were 1,424, down from 2,163 metric tons in 2015. The largest tea trading partner with the U.S. sent 53,681 metric tons in 2016, down from 54,834 in 2015.