P.S. Sundar

Coonoor, Jan. 10

THE New Year has begun on a happy note for the Nilgiris tea producers as their teas, at the first auctions of the Coonoor Tea Trade Association (CTTA), have fetched around Rs 2 a kg more than the last sale of 2005.

The main reason for the rise in prices was the tight supply situation arising from a very low offer.

The volume offered - 7.52 lakh kg - was lower than 7.8 lakh kg offered on December 23.

Buyers stepped up their purchases at the auctions here, leading to increased demand and the concomitant price push for many grades.

"Brighter liquoring teas witnessed buoyancy with upcountry buyers pressuring the market. Quality teas posted substantial gains. Even the medium ones got more than Rs 2 a kg over the previous sale. Good liquoring bolder brokens got Rs 3 more a kg. Likewise, popular medium grades of CTC dusts got Rs 3 more. Flavoury primary orthodox dusts fetched handsome premiums. Even secondaries registered Rs 4 more and some much more on competition," said an auctioneer.

Plainer teas, however, suffered. There were some withdrawals as bids failed refused to meet sellers'the expectations of the sellers.

Among the corporate buyers, Hindustan Lever Ltd bought better medium grades. Others were mostly silent.

On the export front, the buyers for CIS markets bought bolder grades, while those for Pakistan and Iraqi markets, who were active in the last few weeks, were subdued.

Among the CTC teas from bought leaf factories, Darmona Estate got the highest price of Rs 97 a kg, followed by Homedale Estate Rs 90.55. Vigneshwar Estate got Rs 74.11.

Quotations held by the brokers indicated bids ranging from Rs 32 to Rs 35 a kg for the plain leaf grades and Rs 62 to Rs 69 for the brighter liquoring grades. The bids ranged Rs 34-36 for the plain dust grades and Rs 63-70 for the brighter liquoring grades.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 11, 2006)
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