Sri Lankan tea prices maintain upward trend

Feb 26, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan tea prices rose again at this week’s Colombo auction, where volumes were lower than usual and are likely to fall further, brokers said.

The main buyers from Russia and the Middle East were active in the market.

Prices of teas from the estates of listed regional plantations companies also rose at this week’s auctions.

“The select best on offer sold between 350 rupees a kilo and 600 rupees,” the brokers said.

Auction average prices so far this year are well below those of last year when prices shot to record highs during the global commodities bubble that has now burst.

Industry officials said prices are unlikely to go back to the artificial highs during the bubble but that auction prices are still higher than those of 2007. “This week’s auction offerings recorded a sharp decline and totalled 5.1 million kilos,” Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said in a report.

Tea from the low grown areas mainly in the island’s south continued to meet good demand while small leaf varieties from the high and mid-grown elevations were selectively pricier depending on their quality.

The quantity of tea from low grown areas,