Iran on track to become India’s largest tea client
Iran is set to overtake Russia this year as the largest importer of Indian tea, despite American sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Indian tea exports to Iran hit a record high of 43.76 million kilos (mkg) this year till September, earning India a sum of $172.84 million, business-standard.com reported on Monday.
“This trade agreement has not only helped India sustain the market but expand it as well. While exports from other countries faced uncertainty, Indian exporters were able to eat into the competition and gain market share,” a planter, who directly exports bulk tea to Iran, said.
Between January and October, Ceylonese tea shipments to Iran dipped by 9.52 percent to 18.27 mkg.
Data sourced from the India Tea Board showed that between January and September, export of tea to Iran rose by 115.67 percent to touch 43.76 mkg, while the income soared by 133.38 percent at $172.84 million.
In comparison, exports to Russia and other CIS countries were down 11.46 percent, to 41.72 mkg and forex inflow shrank by 12.99 percent, to $97.81 million.
Historically, Russia was the largest importer of Indian tea, and exports to Russia and CIS taken together, usually account for 25-30 percent of total Indian tea exports.
Till September this year, however, exports to Russia and CIS made up 22.85 percent, while Iranian imports accounted for 23.97 percent of the total 182.52 mkg dispatched.
Earnings from Iran far outpace the contribution from Russia and CIS. Iran accounted for 29.19 percent of the Indian tea trade in terms of value while Russia accounted for 16.52 percent in terms of trade value.
Analyzing the current trade scenario, exporters are of the view that Iran will top the chart this year emerging as the top tea exporting destination for India and Russia will finish second in the run.
“What is interesting to note here is the fact that export prices have also risen”, A.K. Ray, the deputy chairman at the India Tea Board said.