Cuban Cigar Exports Soar on Demand for Luxury Goods

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog04-03-2024

International sales of Cuban cigars, the island's most iconic export, soared 31% last year as global demand for luxury goods increased, Cuba's main tobacco exporter said Monday.

Jorge Perez Martell, vice president of commercial affairs at Habanos SA, said the company's 2023 turnover rose 31 percent at the start of the capital's annual cigar festival.

This means, he said, that "turnover in 2023 will reach 721 million dollars.

Jose Maria Lopez Inchaurbe, the company's vice president for development, said, "With the end of the epidemic, the luxury market in general, and the consumption of premium cigars in particular, has seen a very strong increase in demand in all regions."

He cited the development of high-end specialty products and "limited and exclusive editions" as the main drivers of this growth.

The sale is a boon for the Cuban economy, which shrank by two percent last year during the worst crisis in three decades.

China remains the world's largest export market for cigars in terms of value, followed by Spain, Switzerland, Germany and the United Kingdom, Inchaurbe said.

As a region, Europe is the main market, buying 56 percent of Cuban cigar exports.

Cuba is unable to sell its cigars in North America, the world's largest cigar market, because of the trade embargo imposed by Washington on the communist island since 1962.

Luis Sanchez-Harguindey Pardo de Vera, co-president of Habernas, said that although the country's traditional tobacco-producing region, western Cuba, was hit by a powerful hurricane in 2022, "the industry is recovering ".

Habanos SA, a joint venture between the Cuban government and Tabacalera SLU, is based in Spain.

It is the only company responsible for the export of "Havana" cigars.

Tabacalera has long been owned by Imperial Brands of the United Kingdom, and since 2020 has belonged to a secretive consortium of Asian investors known as the Allied Cigar Corporation.

Cuban tobacco is regarded as one of the best in the world and is one of the island's biggest exports, along with nickel, seafood, vaccines and medical services.

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