Warming Up

Average prices for tea at the Colombo auctions dropped to Rs. 145.02 by April from an average of Rs. 156.82 in 2002.

Low grown prices lead the drop, affected since February by the US led incursion of Iraq.

The tension in the Middle East saw low grown sales average in February drop below the high grown sales average since November 1999.

However, the volume of tea sold by April saw a marginally rise from 94.3mn kilos in 2002 to 97.8mn Kilos this year.

Despite the bad spell, trade analysts forecast positive growth for the industry, including higher average prices at auctions and increase in exports over 2002.