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Friday February 23rd, 2024

Sri Lanka tea prices dip

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka tea prices fell in the second week of July with higher availability below best teas, while low growns continued to lead prices, brokers said.

Sri Lanka sold 7.1 million kilograms of tea in the auction of July 13 and 14, made up of 1.0 million kilograms in Ex-Estate teas (mainly high grown teas sold while in the factory itself to retain quality) and 3.0 million kilograms in Low Grown (Leafy/Tippy) teas.

Sri Lanka also sold 7.1million kilograms of tea in the auction held in the previous week.

Low Growns

Last week the Low Grown tea sale average was 622.33 rupees down by 85 cents from a week earlier.
BOPF teas maintained prices from last week.

This week BOP well made sorts and cleaner below bests maintained last week prices while the balanced eased following lower quality.

Select best were firm and then eased marginally as the sale progressed. Best teas maintained prices. Cleaner Below best and Bottom end varieties went up while the balance held firm FBOP1’s in general maintained steady prices.

High Growns

Last week, the High Grown auction average was tea sale average of 543.08 rupees.

This week in BOP teas, few very Best Westerns appreciated by 20-40 rupees a kilogram while the rest including the best were irregular.

Improved Below best varieties gained 10 rupees per kilogram while the balance together with the plainer sorts declined by a similar margin. Teas at the Bottom end were not steady.

BOP Nuwara Eliya’s eased following lower quality.

Better Udapussellawa’s gained 20 rupees per kilogram whereas the balance dipped 10-20 rupees a kilogram. Better Uva’s gaind substantially and the rest eased 20-30 rupees a kilogram.

In BOPF category, a few high priced Westerns barely maintained while the balance appreciated by 20-30 rupees a kilogram, brokers said.

Better Below best sorts gained 20 rupees per kilo and the rest of the prices were irregular. Plainer varieties declined by 10-20 rupees per kilo. BOPF Nuwara Eliya’s and Udapussellawa’s followed a similar trend to their BOP counterparts. Uva’s were irregular on lower quality.

Medium Growns

Last week, the Medium Grown auction average was 515.31rupees up 2.37 rupees from a week before.
This week well-made OP/OPA’s maintained last week’s prices while the balance gained. The bottom end teas gained by 10 rupees per kilogram.

BOPF better sorts were lower, brokers said.

Select Best FBOP’s eased while others gained by 10-20 rupees a kilogram. Select best FF1’s declined, the balance gained 10-20 rupees.


High grown BP1s were irregular while PF1 teas eased 20 rupees a kilogram.

Mid grown BP1s declined 10-20 rupees a kilogram while PF1s Followed a similar trend to their BP1 teas.
Low grown BPIs were firm and gained progressively, better PF1 teas gained 10 rupees while the rest were irregular.

Crop and weather

The department of meteorology forecasts showers in the Western region and strong winds in Nuwara Eliya area in the coming week

Heavy showers are to be expected in the Sabaragamuwa region for the coming week.

The Western and Nuwara Eliya regions reported bright mornings and evening showers.

The Western and Nuwara Eliya planting districts reported dull and showery conditions throughout the week

The Uva/Udapussellawa’s experienced sunny mornings with scattered evening showers. The Ruhuna region reported bright mornings with evening showers while the Sabaragamuwa district experienced dull and showery conditions.

All planting districts maintained the crop intakes as last week except for the Udapussellawa’s which reported a decline. (Colombo/July18/2021)

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Sri Lankans may need to wait for Monetary Board meeting minutes despite new Act

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankans may have to wait more time to read the meeting minutes of the Central Bank’s Monetary Board, a top official said, despite a new act that has made the central bank to be more transparent and accountable for its decisions.

Many central banks including the United States’ Federal Reserve, India’s Reserve Bank, and Bank of Mexico release the minutes of their monetary policy meeting to ensure transparency.

The new Central Bank Act passed by the Parliament in line with the guidance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) includes measures for Sri Lanka’s central bank to be more transparent and accountable.

These measures include releasing the Monetary Policy Report every six months and the first such report was released on February 15.

However, the central bank has not taken a decision to release the minutes of the Monetary Board meetings on the monetary policy.

“Going forward, one day this could happen,” Chandranath Amarasekara, Assistant Governor at the Central Bank told reporters on Wednesday (21) at a media briefing.

“Right now, we have just started working on the new Central Bank Act. We are not there yet. There is no such decision on releasing minutes yet.”

The central bank in the past printed billions of rupees to keep the market interest rates artificially low and provide cheap funding for successive governments to propel a debt-driven economy.

It’s decision, however, led Sri Lanka into an unprecedented economic crisis in 2022 with sovereign debt default.

It also propped up the rupee currency artificially in the past to maintain a stable exchange rate at the expense of billions of US dollars. The move also contributed for the economic crisis and later the central bank was forced to allow over 60 percent depreciation in the rupee in March 2022.

However, none of the top central bank officials was held responsible for wrong decisions to hold interest rates artificially low with money printing and propping up the rupee. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

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Amid mass migration, Sri Lanka to recruit volunteers as English teachers

ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka is planning to appoint foreign and expatriate volunteers to teach English for Sri Lanka students, the Ministry of Higher Education said, amid thousand of teachers migrating to other countries after the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis.

Over five thousand teachers have left the country with the Education Ministry permission using the government’s circular of temporarily leaving state jobs while tens of thousands of teachers have left the country without informing the relevant authorities, Education Ministry officials say.

That had led to an acute teacher shortage in the country.

Suren Raghavan, the State Minister for Higher Education said the shortage has aggravated because most of the graduates who have an English degree become writers and join the private sector due to higher salary.

“They do not join government schools. This is a problem all over the country which is why we need to have an online system,” Raghavan told EconomyNext.

Separately he said on Thursday at a press conference that he had spoken to Canadian and Australian High Commissions to get the assistance of where their English teachers who have experience in teaching English as a second language in South Asia.

He also said that there is a number of teachers in the Unite Kingdom have shown interest in teaching English and they have experience in teaching in other Asian countries such as Burma and India while the teaching would be done free of charge.

The new move also comes at a time when the country’s English literacy rate is on the decline, according to the Minister.

President Ranil Wickramasinghe announced the English-for-all initiative three months ago with plans to improve English literacy at school and university level. (Colombo/Feb 23/2024)

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Sri Lanka tea production up 1.4-pct in Jan 2024, exports up 6.8-pct

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tea production was up 1.4 percent to 18.73 million kilograms in January 2024, with high growns falling and low and mid growns rising, industry data shows.

High grown tea in January 2024 was 3.56 million kilograms, down from 3.36 million, medium growns were 2.6, up from 2.5 million kilograms and low growns were 12.56 million, up from 12.32 million kilograms last year.

Exports, including re-exports were up 6.88 percent to 18.76 million kilograms, industry data published by Ceylon Tea Brokers show.

Export earnings were reported at 102 million US dollars, up from 99.5 million dollars last year. The average FOB price was 5.45 US dollars a kilo down from 5.67 dollars last year.

Tea in bulk was 8.5 million kilograms valued at 12.79 billion rupees, tea in packets was 7.8 million kilograms valued at 13.1 billion rupees and tea in bags was 1.8 million kilos, valued at 5.06 billion rupees.

The top buyer was Iraq with 2.5 million kilos, up from 2.1 million last year followed by the UAE with 1.99 kilos, up from 1.86 million last year.

Russia bought 1.98 million kilos, down from 2.0 last year, Turkey bought 1.72 million kilos, from 2.3 million last year, while Iran bought 1.32 million, up from 614 million last year. (Colombo/Feb23/2024)

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