Thursday, 16 January 2003  
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Market responds well to better teas at Auction

Colombo's tea auction this week concluded on a favourable note with over six million kg going under the hammer and the market responding well in particular for the better teas on offer. Better Western BOP/BOPFs were keenly sought after and a steady improvement was observed across the sale, as most traditional markets stepped up buying from Colombo, a spokesman for John Keells Ltd said.

The below best types tended to fluctuate on cup merit but most BOPFs had a clear price advantage over their corresponding BOPs. The notable demand for Nuwara Eliya BOPFs pushed prices to remunerative levels whilst only the best BOPs registered price gains. The better Uvas too followed the positive market sentiment whilst others were only to fluctuate around last levels.

A feature of the Ex Estate Sale was the competitive bidding for liquoring Pekoes and FBOPs, resulting in a quality FBOP tea from Kirkoswald Estate Bogawantalawa to improve on a 10-year old record price, to sell at Rs.367 per kg.

In the Low Grown catalogues demand centered around the better teas whilst the below best and poor types tended to weaken progressively. The price advantage enjoyed by the better teas should now encourage producers to improve their product quality. A slightly better off-take of the below best OPAs was another noteworthy feature. The price structure for Off Grades and Dusts improved with the strong demand witnessed in these Sales Rooms.

The heightening tensions and the stepped-up diplomatic endeavours centered around the Middle East will be of close observation by the Trade in the ensuing weeks.

However, the resilience demonstrated in the transfer of teas to consumers from auction centres around the world, in similar circumstances previously, should only reinforce and encourage exporters.

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