INTERVIEW-Sri Lanka tea earnings rise 40.3 pct in H1 2008

COLOMBO Wed Aug 6, 2008 7:34pm IST

COLOMBO Aug 6 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's earnings from tea exports grew by 40.3 percent in the first half of 2008 from a year earlier due to higher prices and increased demand from the Middle East, a top official at the Sri Lanka Tea Board told Reuters on Wednesday.

"We have achieved an export revenue of $615.5 million in the first half of this year, compared to $438.6 million in the first six months of 2007," Lalith Hettiarachchi, the chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board, said in an interview with Reuters.

"We expect the full year revenue could go up to $1.5 billion, if the current increasing trend in prices and prevailing production conditions continue." ($1=107.8 rupees) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; editing by Michael Roddy)

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