India tea prices drop on seasonal fall in leaf quality

Thursday, 26 January 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

MUMBAI (Reuters): Tea prices in India, the world’s second biggest producer, fell at an auction held last week on a seasonal decline in the quality of leaf on offer, though demand was good from local buyers, dealers and industry officials said on Tuesday.

The average price of CTC (crush-tear-curl) tea stood at 116.16 rupees per kg, down 4.5 per cent from 121.66 rupees at the previous weekly auction. Dust tea price fell 4.5 per cent to 106.98 rupees per kg.

“There was good demand from domestic buyers, but quality wasn’t good. The supply of late season crop has risen which pulled down average price,” said an official at Calcutta Tea Traders Association.

India exports CTC tea mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the UK, and the premium orthodox variety to Iraq, Iran and Russia.

India’s tea exports climbed 13.4 per cent in November to 17.47 million kg, the state-run Tea Board said on Jan. 6, as demand picked up from traditional buyers in the Middle East.

India’s tea output in November fell 3.8 per cent on year to 90.3 million kg, the Tea Board said, while total production in the first 11 months of 2011 rose 3.2 per cent to 937.5 million kg.

Sri Lanka’s tea production fell in 2011 from a record high in the previous year due to bad weather, but the island nation’s top agricultural export earned a record $ 1.5 billion, the state-run tea board said on Thursday.