Sri Lankan tea prices fall further

March 28, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices fell again at this week’s auction as quality dropped with the end of the season and rains in planting districts indicated bigger crops in future, brokers said. “In the Large Leaf catalogues OP1s and OPs were the most affected and marked down by 20 to 30 rupees a kilo.”

They said teas in the Select Best BOP1 category were well sought after but others eased 20 or 30 rupees a kilo as the sale progressed.

A few good quality teas still fetched record prices.

The brokers said Sri Lanka’s tea production in February crashed to a 17-year low of 12.5 million kilos, down a massive 51 percent from the February 2008 figure of 25.5 million kilos.

The tea crop fell sharply at the beginning of this year owing to the effects of drought and lower fertiliser application and efforts to curtail production late last year when the market crashed. “Notwithstanding the substantially lower volumes, the majority of teas on offer met with less demand,” Forbes and Walker Tea Brokers said.

“Overall quality showed a decline particularly in respect of the Westerns and consequently teas in the higher price bracket declined fairly substantially.”

The quality seas