Sri Lankan tea prices below 2013 levels

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lankan tea prices fell further at this week’s Colombo auctions, with the monthly averages for the first quarter lower even than 2013 levels, brokers said.

While Low Grown teas continued to meet with reasonably good demand the High and Medium Grown varieties saw a disappointing sale with prices on average falling by 20-30 rupees a kilo.

The volume of unsold teas continued to be high, brokers said.

"The weakening tea prices, particularly for the High and Medium Grown small leaf teas, would be of serious concern as these levels would be totally unremunerative to the plantations," Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said.

The auction average for March 2015 fell 54.23 rupees to 469.87 rupees a kilo from the year before.

In US dollars terms too, 3.20 dollars average for March 2015 was 40 US cents below that of March 2014.

The brokers said the elevational averages in March 2015 were also lower than last year in US dollar terms.

"Even the 2013 averages were higher in rupee and US dollar terms to these levels," Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said.

"The January – March 2015 average of 419.04 rupees a kilo is lower than 2013."