Sri Lanka tea crop recovers, prices head down

March 25, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices have weakened with the end of the Western quality season, although the better quality offerings still fetched higher prices at the last auction. Brokers said rains have been reported from most tea planting districts and crop intakes have shown a slight increase in certain areas.

Supply will remain tight in the next few auctions because of the effects of prolonged drought but recover by mid-April with prices likely to weaken.

The drought, delayed fertiliser application and pruning of bushes by farmers caused the crop to fall sharply earlier this year.

The months after March are usually a period of heavy crops when prices weaken.

Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said the market last week took a downward trend.

Prices of most varieties of low grown teas, which make up the bulk of the output, fell although a few fetched record prices.

In the Large Leaf catalogues Better OP1 varieties lost 30 – 40 rupees a kilo.

In teas grown by regional plantations companies prices were mixed.

Select high priced Western BOPF types were irregular, but all others gained 10 – 15 rupees a kilo.

“High priced seasonal teas