Sri Lanka tea prices rise sharply

July 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices rose sharply at this week’s Colombo auction as volumes began declining, brokers said. The same type of teas from the Uva central highlands region, whose quality season is about to begin, also rose sharply.

“…the initial invoices which reflected the signs of seasonal improvement, gained further following special inquiry,” Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said.

Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said there was once again strong demand for low grown teas, which are produced mainly by small farmers in the south of the island. The sharpest price gains were in the high grown teas made by plantations companies, some of which rose 20 – 30 rupees a kilo and others up to 80 rupees.

Teas from the Uva region also rose in price, showing signs the quality season was beginning, brokers said.

Sri Lanka’s tea crop so far this year has been lower than last year owing to severe drought earlier in the year and the effects of last year’s commodity price crash that led to the neglect of bushes.

Production in most major exporting countries is also sharply lower as they also have been affected