Sri Lankan crisis buoys sales at Kochi tea auctions

V.Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Apr 08, 2022

CTC dust market was down in sale no 8 at Kochi auctions | Photo Credit: SATHYAMOORTHY M

Buying increases over 70% from less than 50% during Ukraine war at the southern centre

With exporters scouting for tea from South India, the sales percentage in Kochi auctions, especially for orthodox leaf varieties are on the rise.

The sales percentage, which was below 50 per cent after the Russia-Ukraine conflict, has now gone up and hovering in the range of 70-75 per cent, traders said. They attribute the increase in sales to the Sri Lankan crisis, which has hit the availability of Orthodox leaves in the global market. This has facilitated overseas buyers to look at all available options. With reported power cuts and diesel shortage in the island nation, traders said the tea production there is likely to worsen in the coming weeks, which would be beneficial to South Indian teas.

Russia was a major buyer of Orthodox leaves from Kochi auctions and the surge in sales percentage in the absence of a strong Russian buying is an indication that other countries are showing interest in procuring South Indian brew.

More participation of exporters was evident in sale 14 compared with previous weeks with a sale of 77 per cent of the offered quantities of 2,17,820 kg in Orthodox leaf.

Lanka Feb output

The Sri Lankan tea production was also down in February 2022 with figures reportedly at 18.2 million kg (mkg) compared with 22.5 mkg in the corresponding month of 2021.

N Lakshmanan Chettiar, a tea planter based in Madurai, said South India should take immediate steps to produce good Orthodox well-made bright liquoring teas to meet the emerging situation. There should be a change in the mindset among tea producers to switch over as South Indian tea is well suited for orthodox and not CTC.

Meanwhile, the active participation of blenders lifted select varieties of CTC dust grades in the auctions. The market for select best and popular marks of Kerala was firm to dearer by ₹2-3 per kg in sale 14 on an offered quantity of 8,08,104 kg. However, the average price realisation was down by ₹4 at ₹134 and the traders attribute it to lower sales of high-priced teas.

Published on April 08, 2022
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