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Tea Auction sees improved demand after holiday lull

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  • Improved interest from shippers to South Africa, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Japan and Middle East

This week’s tea auction was met with improved demand with the quantity recording a significant increase and totalling a 7.4 million kilograms vis-à-vis six million kilograms last week, brokers said yesterday. 

The increased volume reflects the extended closure of catalogues on account of the holiday period in December, they noted. High and medium grown small leaf teas met with improved demand whilst the low growns witnessed a bearish sentiment, observed the Forbes and Walker weekly tea report. 

Currently most planting districts are experiencing brighter weather. The Western Sector in particular being extremely bright and sunny during the day followed by cool evenings/nights. We are yet to experience the ‘dry winds’ and ‘high hygrometric differences’, which are essential for the production of bright teas with seasonal character. 

If weather does not intervene we should see teas with seasonal character commencing within the second week of February, observed the Tea Report from John Keells brokers. 

Ex-estate offerings totalled a 1.3 M/Kgs against a 0.9 M/Kgs on offer last week. Overall quality of teas on offer from the western planting districts showed fair improvement whilst teas from the other districts were mostly similar to last, the report said.

There was improved demand and consequently Best Western BOP/BOPFs gained Rs. 10-20 per kg. In the below best category BOPs appreciated Rs. 10-20 per kg whilst the corresponding BOPFs gained Rs. 20-30 per kg. Plainer BOPs appreciated Rs. 5-10 per kg whilst the corresponding BOPFs were irregular and on average gained Rs. 10 per kg. Nuwara Eliyas were irregularly dearer following quality and it is indeed encouraging to see these teas realising some comparable prices after a long period of time. 

Clean leaf Uva/Udapussellawa BOPs gained Rs. 10 per kg and more for select invoices whilst the corresponding BOPFs were Rs. 10-20 per kg dearer with the exception of the poor leaf teas which tend to be discounted. High and medium grown CTC BP1s gained Rs. 20 per kg on average whilst the corresponding PF1s were irregular – mostly following quality. Liquoring leafy teas continued to witness a buoyant market and prices ranged from Rs. 550-900 per kg.

“There was improved interest from shippers to the South Africa, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Japan. UK and the Continent were selective following quality whilst there was slightly better activity from Shippers to the CIS and Middle East,” it added. 

Low growns comprised of 3.6M/kgs in the leafy/tippy catalogues, a slightly larger volume compared to the preceding sale. In the Leafy catalogue, high priced BOP1/OP1s were irregularly lower. Others particularly the cleaner improved sorts were fully firm. Better OP/OPAs too were generally firm. Others were irregular and lower. 

At the lower end however there was good demand and prices were generally firm. Better PEK/PEK1s were irregularly lower whilst others particularly the bolder types declined sharply. At the lower end too prices were mostly lower to last. 

In the tippy catalogue, better FBOP/FF1s though irregular were firm. Others were irregular and often lower to previous. In the premium catalogue, well-made tippy invoices were fully firm whilst the others were irregular following quality. Shippers to Dubai, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iraq together with CIS were active this week.

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