Sri Lankan tea may be lifted by Kenyan unrest

Jan 04, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices could be pushed higher if violence in Kenya, the world’s biggest tea exporter, disrupts supplies to the world market, trade officials said. The violence in Pakistan, a big tea consumer nation, could on the other hand dampen demand, they said.

There has been no impact yet on the Colombo auctions of the violence in Kenya where last week’s Mombasa auction had to be postponed for next week.

“There might be some impact on our smaller leaf types but it all depends how serious the Kenyan situation will be,” said a top exporter who declined to be identified.

“The violence will affect current Kenyan production but there are teas that have arrived at the actions for the next two or three weeks. So it will be only towards the end of January we might see some impact.”

Anil Cooke, senior vice president of tea brokers Asia Siyaka Commodities, said last week’s Mombasa auction had been put off for next week when two auctions are planned to be held.

But he said the violence had disrupted further movement of tea to the Mombasa auctions within the country as well as from other east African tea producers.

Violence erupted in Ke