The dry weather in the Nilgiri tea plantations of the last few weeks has reduced the harvest of green leaf supplied as raw material to factories. This has led to factories working for only four to five days a week and that too, just one shift daily against round-the-clock in peak times.

Consequently, the arrival for Sale No: 8 of Coonoor Tea Trade Association auctions to be held on Thursday and Friday has declined to the lowest volume offered so far this calendar.

Of the 12.51 lakh kg coming up for sale, as much as 1.29 lakh kg comprises teas which had remained unsold in previous auctions. Fresh tea accounts for only 11.22 lakh kg – among the lowest so far this year.

This volume is as much as 2.40 lakh kg less than last week’s offer although as much as 1.65 lakh kg more than the offer this time last year.

Of the 12.51 lakh kg on offer, 9.24 lakh kg belongs to the leaf grades and 3.27 lakh kg belongs to the dust grades. As much as 11.74 lakh kg belongs to CTC variety and only 0.77 lakh kg, orthodox variety. In the leaf counter, only 0.43 lakh kg belongs to orthodox while 8.81 lakh kg, CTC. Among the dusts, only 0.34 lakh kg belongs to orthodox while 2.93 lakh kg, CTC.

“Upcountry buyers are stepping up their purchases here as the volumes in North Indian auctions are low. They are demanding brighter-liquoring high-priced teas”, an auctioneer told Business Line. Last week, in the leaf auctions, Hindustan Unilever Ltd operated on the good medium varieties. Tata Global Beverages Ltd was selective. Duncans Tea Ltd showed some interest on the good medium smaller brokens. In the Dust auctions, HUL was selective. Tata Global did not operate. Duncans was fairly active on medium sorts.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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