SOUTH Africa has overtaken China as the biggest buyer of the country’s golden leaf as of last week, according to latest statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB).
BY OUR STAFF
South Africa bought 10 432 871kg worth US$30 882 167,98 at an average price of US$2,96 per kg.
China was a distant fourth after buying 2 585 700kg of the golden leaf behind Belgium (7 305 470kg) and United Arab Emirates (4 160 112kg).
During the same period last year, China was on top having bought 6,9 million kg of tobacco with South Africa on fourth place.
TIMB chief executive officer, Andrew Matibiri said South Africa had a huge internal demand for tobacco to be manufactured into cigarettes but said that exports to China would peak as the year progresses.
Matibiri said that China accounts for 40% of the country’s tobacco output.
The highest export price has been US$10,03 per kg offered by Japan when it bought 600kg.
Bosnia offered the lowest price after buying 79 200kg for US$0,25.
Matibiri said the disparity in prices was a result of the tobacco grade, adding that Japan buys top quality crop.
As of last week, 41 295 602kg of tobacco had been exported, raking in US$ 163 035 255,97.
Tobacco is one of the largest foreign currency earners in the economy.
TIMB projects that 170 million kg of tobacco would be sold this year. As of last week, 165 412 135 had been sold, raking in US$609 232 676.