Sri Lanka tea prices rise on supply uncertainty

Sept 10, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices rose sharply at this week™s auctions, driven by supply uncertainty, with labour unions preventing teas leaving hill country estates, possibly creating shortages at future sales, brokers said. Asia Siyaka Commodities said there was more general demand in the catalogues from estates with buyers paying up for available teas.

Uncertainty over future delivery and production compelled buyers to pay up for the quantity and quality on offer, they said.

The situation on estates seems to have deteriorated since workers commenced obstructing dispatch of teas last week. Many estates now report little or no work.

Labour unions are obstructing the transport of made tea from hill-country estates to the Colombo auctions to back demands for higher wages.

Talks between unions and regional plantations companies which run estates remain deadlocked.

The unions are demanding a daily wage of 500 rupees a worker which plantations companies say they cannot afford.

Another round of talks to renew a two-year collective wage agreement that expired in March is to be held Thursday afternoon.

Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said there was excellent wide spread demand resulti