Mumbai: The country’s tobacco exports jumped 55% to $169 million (Rs708 crore) in the first quarter of 2008-09 as a global shortfall forced overseas buyers to source Indian leaf at a higher price.
“Exporters are buying aggressively. There is a shortfall in production globally. Production in Brazil is down, in Zimbabwe it is steady,” J. Suresh Babu, chairman of trade promotion body Tobacco Board, said on Thursday.
India’s 2008-09 exports could touch a record $600 million, up 19% from $503 million a year ago, he said.
India is the second biggest producer of tobacco after China and the fourth biggest exporter of unmanufactured tobacco. Exports from the country in April-June rose to $169 million from $109 million in the same period a year ago, Babu said.
British American Tobacco Plc., Japan Tobacco Inc., Philip Morris International Inc. and Imperial Tobacco Group Plc. are the main buyers of the Indian leaf. Overseas buyers are paying 50-70% more compared with last year and that was reflecting in export figure, Bellam Kotaiah, president, Indian Tobacco Association, said.
ITC Ltd, Godfrey Philips India Ltd and Vazir Sultan Tobacco Co. Ltd are leading buyers in the domestic market.