The New Year started on a cheerful note at the Kolkata tea auction, particularly for good quality tea. The first auction of the year held this week reported more than Rs 200 a kg for good quality CTC and more than Rs 300 for good quality orthodox.

However, the average was lower at Rs 167.01 compared to Rs 166.55 last week for orthodox and virtually unchanged at Rs 144.40 (Rs 144.42 ) for CTC, according to J. Thomas & Company Pvt Ltd.

This was due to the larger share of the medium and low quality teas in the offerings, this being the end of the season. However, compared to the first auction of 2012, the prices were much higher. At the Last year’s first auction, the average Orthodox was Rs 104.04 per kg and average CTC was Rs 124.25 per kg.

About 89.46 per cent of the offerings (88.02 per cent last week) of orthodox and 87.23 per cent (89.77 per cent) of the CTC volumes offered were sold at this week’s Kolkata auction. The last year’s first auction’s corresponding figures were 90.67 per cent for orthodox and 87.36 per cent for CTC.

The total offerings (packages) at the three North Indian auction centres at Kolkata, Guwahati and Siliguri were 3,96,685 compared to 4,28,621 in the previous year. The offerings at Kolkata comprised CTC/dust 1,43,537 (1,56,827); orthodox 13,114 (33,985) and Darjeeling 4,211 (5,260). The corresponding figures for two other centres were : Guwahati 1,27,020 (1,21,221) and Siliguri 1,09,803( 1,11,328).

Assam CTC teas maintaining quality sold at firm rates while the remainder was barely steady and irregularly lower. Better Dooars was barely steady and irregularly lower while the remainder eased in value. Tata Global was fairly active while there was fair support from Hindustan Unilever. Western India dealers were active on the liquoring sorts. There were good enquiries from North India and local sections. Exporters operated mainly on the bolder brokens.

Orthodox offerings met with strong demand at fully firm to dearer rates. There was some Continental enquiry on tippy and liquoring varieties. Exporters to the CIS and West Asia operated actively. Hindustan Unilever was selective.

Darjeeling whole leaf grades sold in line with quality. There was useful support from Hindustan Unilever while Tata Global was quiet. Brokens and fannings sold at around last levels and met with enquiries from export and local buyers.

santanu.sanyal@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 4, 2013)
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