Tobacco: U.S. exports and imports – tobacco export statistic for 1991

U.S. exports and imports – tobacco export statistic for 1991 – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Economic Research Service report

Exports Likely Up This Year

Exports of unmanufactured tobacco were 11 percent above a year earlier through September 1991, including a 25-percent increase during July-September. For the calendar year, exports will likely be up despite the smaller flue-cured crop. Total 1991 exports will probably be 520 to 540 million pounds, compared with last year’s 492.5 million pounds (223,000 metric tons, equivalent to 647 million pounds, farm sales weight).

In reporting to the Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Division in recent years, exporters have shifted certain partially processed exports from “unmanufactured tobacco” to the categories “smoking tobacco in bulk” and “smoking tobacco, not elsewhere classified”. The last two categories account for over 20 percent of tobacco exports (by weight). Shipments of “smoking tobacco in bulk” rose 6 percent during January-September, and exports of “smoking tobacco, not elsewhere classified” were up 19 percent.

For January-September 1991, exports of stems and other leaf were up. In addition, exports of burley – the second most important export class – rose 22 percent. But exports of flue-cured, the principal export class, fell 4 percent. Exports of Maryland and cigar wrapper leaf rose, but shipments of Kentucky-Tennessee fire-cured, Virginia fire-cured, and blackfat were down.

Among major markets, shipments to Europe and Africa were up, but shipments to Asia were down. There were no exports under USDA-financed programs this past year. [Tabular Data Omitted]

Leaf exports in calendar 1992 will probably decline a little from 1991 if normal shipping patterns are followed, because of smaller U.S. supplies. Also, U.S. leaf exports continue to be held down because of declining cigarette consumption in major importing countries, ample supplies of filler tobacco in competitor countries, tightening supplies of many grades of U.S. tobacco, and the shift to more product exports.

Imports Higher

Through September of this year, total U.S. imports for consumption (duty-paid) rose 18 percent from a year earlier. Increases occurred in Oriental, the major import class, unstemmed burley leaf, other unstemmed leaf, flue-cured stemmed leaf, other stemmed cigarette leaf, cigarette scrap, cigar leaf, and stems. Reductions occurred in unstemmed flue-cured leaf and cigar scrap. Imports will likely increase a little further in 1992 because of tightening U.S. supplies and lower prices of foreign-grown leaf.

January-September arrivals of tobacco (general imports) were up 25 percent, the third annual increase after a large drop 3 years ago. Cigarette leaf was up about 23 percent. Oriental leaf was up 25 percent. Unstemmed flue-cured was down, but stemmed flue-cured, unstemmed burley, other unstemmed cigarette leaf and other stemmed cigarette leaf were up. Cigarette scrap, cigar leaf, and stems were up, but cigar scrap was down.

U.S. stocks of foreign-grown cigarette and smoking tobacco rose over the last 12 months. On October 1, 1991, foreign stocks in the United States totaled 752 million pounds (farm sales weight), 13 percent above a year earlier. About 57 percent of the foreign-grown stocks were flue-cured and burley, up from about 55 percent a year earlier.

Trade Trends

During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, U.S. tobacco exports were held down because of higher U.S. prices, reduced consumption in major importing countries, a strong dollar, and large world supplies. At the same time, U.S. imports grew because of availability of cheaper foreign-produced flue-cured and burley tobacco. As a result, foreign-grown tobacco now accounts for about 30 percent of the tobacco used in U.S. cigarette production, compared with 14 percent 20 years ago.

However, in recent years the dollar has been weaker and legislation enacted in 1986 lowered U.S. price supports and held the line on future support increases. These developments kept imports below the high 1987 level during 1988-90. However, imports rose in 1990 and are rising again in 1991. Tight U.S. supplies, relatively high U.S. prices, and increased production of burley and flue-cured in competitor countries are making imports into the United States attractive.

PHOTO : Figure 3 Export Markets for U.S. Tobacco

COPYRIGHT 1991 For more information, contact US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Phone: 1-800-999-6779 (8:30-5:00 ET).

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