World Unmanufactured Tobacco Production, Supply and Distribution
China, the United States, India, Brazil, Turkey Zimbabwe, Indonesia, Italy and Greece, when combined account for more than 75 percent of all unmanufactured tobacco production and most of commercial exports. China is forecast to produce 2.90 million metric tons of tobacco this year, unchanged from 1996. Flue cured tobacco accounts for 2.755 million tons of the Chinese crop. China's leaf quality was up last year based on an increased percentage of top grade tobacco in state purchases. Grades for 1997 are expected to be similar due to currently favorable weather trends.
United States tobacco production for 1997 is forecast at 741,865 tons, up 7 percent from last year due to a 9 percent increase in planted area. Flue-cured tobacco production is up 5 percent to 433,570 tons. Tobacco production in India for 1997 is estimated at a record 604,500 tons, up 7 percent from 1996. Most of the increase is of cigarette leaf tobaccos and is due to a strong export demand. Indian dark air and sun-cured tobacco production is down slightly due to a much weaker export demand. Total production in Indonesia is forecast up 4 percent to 184,300 tons due to increased planted area stemming from favorable 1996 grower prices. Tobacco quality was reported up in 1996 compared to 1995. Brazilian tobacco production for 1997 is forecast at 545,000 tons, up 20 percent from last year. Tobacco quality is said to be the best in ten years, while prices paid to farmers for flue-cured, which accounts for 70 percent of production, are unchanged from 1996. Malawi's tobacco crop for 1997 is estimated at 153,000 tons, up 8 percent from 1996 due to increased planted area. Burley tobacco accounts for over 80 percent of Malawi's leaf production because small-holder growers, who account for most of production, can't afford the equipment necessary to produce flue-cured tobacco. Burley tobacco prices for 1997 are projected up 4 percent in local currency. Leaf quality is up from 1996 which was down due to mold problems from excess moisture during curing. Turkish tobacco production is forecast at 235,400 tons, up 3 percent from 1996. The Turkish government has proposed removal of controls on oriental tobacco production, which accounts for over 90 percent of production, because of improved world demand. Zimbabwe's 1997 tobacco crop is estimated at 210,560 tons, up only slight from 1996 despite a 15 percent rise in plantings as poor weather conditions lowered yields. Crop quality for 1997 is as good as 1996 and prices are expected to be unchanged. Greek tobacco production for 1997 is forecast up slightly form 1996 to 132,000 tons. Italian production is forecast unchanged at 136,000 tons.
Leaf consumption is an indicator to the size and trend of tobacco product manufacturing, particularly cigarettes, in a given country. The world's top leaf tobacco consuming nations are China, the United States, India, Turkey, Germany, Indonesia, and Brazil. China's domestic consumption for 1997 is forecast at 2.61 million tons , up 2 percent from 1996. The United States is expected to consume 710,000 tons of tobacco, down slightly from last year. Brazil's tobacco consumption for 1997 is projected at 187,400 tons, up 4 percent due to increased domestic cigarette sales. German consumption for 1997 is projected at 178,100 tons, down 1 percent from 1996. British tobacco consumption for 1997 is projected at 130,000 tons , down 8 percent due to an expected decline in cigarette exports. Indian tobacco consumption for 1997 is projected up 1 percent to 478,760 tons based on revised consumption data.
The world's leading exporters of unmanufactured tobacco are Brazil, the United States, Zimbabwe, Malawi, India, Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Brazil is expected to export 294,000 tons of tobacco in 1997, up 4 percent from 1996. Leaf tobacco exports from the United States for 1997 are projected up about 4 percent to 230,000 tons. Malawi's leaf exports are expected to reach a record high in 1997, totaling 113,720 tons, 12 percent higher than last year. China is expected to export 75,000 tons of leaf tobacco this year, up 25 percent from 1996. India's leaf exports are expected to reach 115,000 tons of tobacco in 1997, down 3,000 tons from 1996. Cigarette tobacco accounts for about 75 percent of Indian exports. Turkish tobacco exports for 1997 are projected to fall to 121,000 tons from record 169,703 tons in 1996. The rise in Turkish exports during 1996 and the continued higher than normal level this year are due to more realistic export price levels. Zimbabwe's exports for 1997 are forecast at 189,000 tons , up 7 percent from 1996 . Greek exports for 1997 are forecast at 98,000 tons, down 8,000 tons from 1996. Italian exports for 1997 are forecast at 107,000 tons, down 23 percent from 1996 which was unusually high due to above normal sales to eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
The United States, Germany, the Russian Federation, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are the world's leading importers. For 1997, the United States is expected to import 340,000 tons of leaf tobacco, up about 4 percent from 1996. German tobacco imports for 1997 are projected at 250,000 tons , up 6 percent from revised 1996 estimates. The increase in imports for both 1996 and 1997 reflects increased re-exports of imported tobacco to the EU and eastern Europe as opposed to increased German consumption. Dutch tobacco imports for 1997 are projected to increase slightly to 97,500 tons to supply the expanding cigarette export market. British tobacco imports are forecast at 170,000 tons for 1997, down 11 percent from 1996 due to an expected less favorable exchange rate which is expected to hurt cigarette exports. Russian tobacco imports for 1997 are expected to increase slightly to 148,800 tons due to the strong domestic cigarette market. Japanese imports for 1997 are forecast at 96,000 tons, up 12 percent from 1996 but well below 1995 and earlier years.
World unmanufactured tobacco stock levels had been trending higher due to increased world tobacco production since 1995. China's ending stocks are forecast up 16 percent at 2.026 million tons, compared to a 25 percent increase last year. Slower growth in stocks this year is due to increased exports and domestic consumption and projected unchanged domestic production. In the United States ending tobacco stocks are projected up 5 percent to 1,53 million tons due to increased production and imports. Brazil's 1997 stocks are projected down 10 percent to 171,400 tons due to record exports and expanding domestic cigarette manufacturing. The expanded domestic demand and strong exports are forecast to cut stocks by one third to 91,250 tons by the end of 1997, a record low. Turkish tobacco stocks for 1997 are forecast up 3 percent from 1996 but down 39,000 tons from 1995 in part due to stock burning in past years. Dutch ending tobacco stocks are forecast at 37,038 tons, down 6 percent due to continued high domestic use. Zimbabwe's stocks are projected to fall to 67,900 tons , down 11,200 tons due to strong exports and nearly unchanged production . Greek stocks for 1997 are forecast at 37,432 tons, down slightly from 1996. Italian stocks are forecast to fall to 126,700 tons for 1997.