Sri Lanka tea auction demand recovers: brokers

Nov 05, 2009 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan tea auctions in Colombo stabilized this week with demand picking up and much less unsold teas although prices of some varieties still fell, brokers said. The Tea Board did not buy this week and has delayed payment for its purchases of a million kilos last week, with brokers continuing to pay the producers.

Producers of low grown teas, the worst hit by the crisis, had cut production by 30-35 percent but large stocks were still in warehouses.

“The market strengthened as the sale progressed for low country teas,” said Anil Cooke of Asia Siyaka Commodities.

“Many teas sold at prices significantly above the previous week for teas of similar quality.”

He also said the volume of unsold teas had declined sharply.

“This time it was more disagreement on value rather than absence of demand,” said Cooke. “There were a few really poor teas nobody wanted.”

The market for low grown teas, produced mainly by small farmers in the island’s south, crashed in October, plunging the trade into a crisis.

The government stepped in asking the tea board to buy to prop up demand.

Chaanaka Jayasekara of Bartleets Produce Marketing said pri