Sri Lankan tea prices stay high

Feb 19, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices eased at the Colombo auctions this week but are still at record highs being much higher than last year both in rupee and dollar terms, brokers said. But the Western quality season, which is during this time of year, has yet to set in because of unseasonal rains, they said.

The year 2010 has commenced on a strong footing with Sri Lankan national averages for January registering 389.74 rupees a kilo (3.38 dollars) which is an all-time record, tea brokers John Keells said.

The previous best for January was 332.95 (3.07 dollars) a kilo 2008.

Significantly all three elevations have achieved record averages for January. With three sales in February completed we could expect record averages in February as well, John Keells said in a market report.

But they said the Western quality season, when teas grown on the Western slopes of the central hills yield their best quality, has been delayed.

We are yet to see any seasonal quality from the Western sector due mainly to the unsettled weather.

Sporadic rainfall in many areas in the central hills at the start of last week gave way to brighter weather over t