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August 09, 2010

Zimbabwe tobacco sales better than forecast

Zimbabwe's tobacco sales could soon top the revised target of 114 million kg as deliveries continue to come through albeit at a slower pace, a local media outlet reported on August 9.

As of August 1 a total of 109.6 million kg worth 316.1 million U.S. dollars had been sold at an average price of 2. 88 dollars /kg since the season began in February.

This compares favorably with 58.2 million kg worth 173.6 million dollars that was sold during the corresponding period last year at an average price of 2.98 dollars /kg.

According to the latest bulletin issued by the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board weekly sales dropped marginally to 4. 5 million kg from 4.6 million sold during the previous week.

The weekly average price also declined to 2.71 dollars /kg from 2.73 dollars /kg during the week under review.

Tobacco sales are following last year's trend where contractors sold more tobacco accounting for 73 percent of all the tobacco sold while the balance of 27 percent was sold through the auction system.

During the week auction floors recorded 1 million kg in sales compared to 3.5 million kg sold through contract.

Industry stakeholders believe that if the current momentum of deliveries continues sales would go beyond 114 million kg.

"We have seen deliveries remaining strong although the daily averages have started coming down on the daily averages of 4,000 kg to just below 1,000 kg. At this rate we might see sales reaching the 114 million kg mark by next week," said one of the stakeholders who preferred to remain anonymous.

Officials at the TIMB were mum on these prospects preferring to wait for the outcome of a board meeting expected to be held this week.The board meeting is expected to review the season as well as look at the closing dates for the season.

Of the 109.6 million kg sold to date, 69.2 million kg valued at 207.8 million dollars was sold under contract at an average price of 3 dollars per kg.

The current marketing season has been affected by a number of challenges such as poor prices, shortages of wrapping paper, congestion and corruption by some employees at the auction floors. These have however been dealt with.

Stock Analyst

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