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Sri Lanka tea prices fall sharply

Nov 28, 2008 (LBO) - Sri Lankan tea prices at the Colombo auction fell sharply this week with large quantities unsold indicating the crisis caused by the sudden collapse in demand last month was continuing.

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Brokers said that prices of teas produced by both regional plantations companies as well as small farmers were mostly lower with a few better made teas being the exceptions.

Poor quality varieties dropped by as much as 30-40 rupees a kilo.

However, they said, volumes at forthcoming auctions would be lower.

Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said the volume of teas offered by listed plantations companies increased at this week's sale with overall quality levels lower than last week's.

"Consequently there was much less demand resulting in price drops of 10-20 rupees a kilo and more for the poorer/plainer liquoring teas," they said in a market report.

"In addition, a substantial volume of teas remained unsold due to a lack of suitable bids."

However, the brokers said, the limited availability of BOP type teas fetched better demand. Buyers were selective.

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