The latest figures on premium cigar imports show a small slowdown in overall shipments, but with gains from the two biggest producers.
Shipments for May of this year—the newest issued by the Cigar Association of America—were down 3.9 percent when compared to May 2018. The Dominican Republic showed growth in May, with shipments up to 11 million cigars, from 10.9 million in May 2018, while Nicaraguan shipments rose to 16.1 million, up from 15.9 million.
Shipments from Honduras were down to 4.6 million cigars, compared to 6.5 million in May 2018.
For the first five months of the year, shipments were essentially flat at 131 million cigars. The year 2018 was the strongest in some 20 years in the cigar business, with imports up 9.7 percent for the year to 362 million cigars.
For the first five months of 2019, Nicaragua remained in the No. 1 position, with 51.6 percent of shipments, followed by the Dominican Republic (29.6 percent), and Honduras at 17.9 percent. Other countries—among them Mexico, the Bahamas and Costa Rica—contribute less than 1 percent of shipments.