Sri Lanka tea export earnings hit monthly high

Dec 04, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tea export earnings in October hit a record high and average auction prices this year were much higher than in the last two years, although shipments were down owing to production problems, brokers said. The year-to-date average price of tea was also higher at 3.14 dollars a kilo compared with 2.91 dollars in 2008 and 2.45 dollars a kilo in 2007.

Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said there was less demand at this week’s auction and consequently lower prices all round.

In teas from plantations company estates overall quality levels showed a decline resulting in a greater volume of teas on offer comprising of “Fair Average Quality”, they said.

“Consequently, the price parity between the better teas and the below best varieties narrowed down, whilst the increased volumes continued to put downward pressure on prices for all others.”

Prices of low grown teas, which account for the bulk of the crop, also fell, dropping by 10-15 rupees a kilo for most types. Prices at this week’s Colombo auctions fell sharply owing to lower quality and less demand although a global tea shortage is likely to keep prices buoyant in the short term, they said.

Brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities said October tea e