Brazil: Tobacco exports to China rise over 200 percent in 2007

5 March 2008

Sao Paulo, Brazil, 5 March – Brazil sold 55,000 tons of tobacco to China in 2007, whilst in 2006 exports totaled 17,000 tons, the president of the Smoke Industry Union (Sindifumo), Iro Schünke told macauhub Wednesday.

Despite the 223 percent rise, the sector did not exceed its exports to China in 2005, which totaled 60,000 tons, according to Schünke.

“The 2005 figure was due to the fact that some of the tobacco purchased by China in 2004 was only transported the following year,” Schünke said.

The fall in 2006 was due to a drought in the main tobacco producing region of Brazil, in the South of the country, which meant that some of the product produced that year did not meet the standards required by the Chinese market.

Last year, 7.85 percent of Brazilian tobacco exports were sent to China. Sales totaled 700,000 tons, a rise of 25 percent against the previous year.

In terms of revenue, growth was even bigger. In 2007, the sector’s exports totaled US$2.2 billion, 28 percent more than sales for 2006, which were calculated at US$1.72 billion.

“Amongst the factors that contributed to this performance is the quality of the 2007 harvest, as well as the sale of a good part of remaining stocks from previous harvests,” he said.

The 2006/2007 harvest totaled 760,000 tons, exceeding Sindifumo’s initial forecast of 744,000 tons.

In 2007, Brazilian tobacco was exported to over 100 countries. The Far East was the second biggest importer, responsible for 16 percent of purchases.

The main market for tobacco continues to be the European Union, which absorbed 45 percent of total sales in 2007.

According to Schünke, in 2007 tobacco in 2007 accounted for 1.4 percent of Brazilian exports, and was the third most exported Brazilian agricultural product.

Brazil is the biggest exporter and the second biggest tobacco producer in the world, and its main competitors are the United States, India, Zimbabwe, Argentina and Malawi.

Schünke also said there were no projections for 2008 sales to the Chinese market, as Brazilian buyers were due to visit Brazil in the next few months to sign deals with local companies. (macauhub)