Sri Lanka tea auction sees return of Libya

Apr 21, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices were firm at this week’s auction with brokers saying Libya had resumed buying and global prices seen staying high this year owing to lower production and growing demand. Despite the large volume of teas from plantation company estates on offer and “somewhat lower” quality prices were “fairly stable” when the Colombo auction resumed after last week’s break for new year holidays, brokers John Keells said.

A few good teas from estates on the western slopes of the central hills sold in excess of 400 rupees a kilo with the bulk of the teas being sold between 350 – 370 rupees on average.

The low grown teas, that make up over half the crop, “met with very good demand,” John Keells said.

“It was encouraging to see Libyan buying and also strong Iranian buying after their New Year break. Russia too was quite active with the Syrian buyers purchasing quite aggressively.”

The brokers said tea prices at the Colombo auctions had held up in the first three months of 2011 and even increased over 2010 averages.

The national average of 393.92 rupees a kilo in the January – March 2011 period was the highest for a first quarter of any given year exceeding the prev