The current tea shortage being experienced in North Indian markets has forced buyers to shift their focus on South Indian auctions.

Traders pointed out that tea estates in Assam are affected by floods which led to a severe shortage for the brew. Last week, tea prices in Kolkatta auctions touched a whopping ₹301 per kg. The emerging situation coupled with Covid lockdown in Kolkata hit the sector badly. The rise in tea prices was witnessed in Coonoor auctions as well, traders said.

The North Indian tea prices increased nearly 50 per cent compared to same day last year, while in Kochi auctions, it is nearly 20 per cent, they said.

Due to the rise in upcountry buying, prices of both dust and leaf grades in Kochi registered a higher average price realisation of about ₹5 per kg. The average prices of dust grades touched ₹130 a kg from the previous week’s level of ₹125.46, while for leaf, the price was up at ₹159 against ₹154.

However, sources pointed out that the rise in average prices was below the cost of production, as Kerala remain a high cost production State at ₹152 per kg.

In sale 30, the quantity offered was 6,74,798 kg with 92 per cent was sold. The market for PD and RD witnessed a strong feature and appreciated by longer margins of ₹5-10 and more. The high-priced SRD and SFD was dearer by ₹2-5 and sometimes more. The bottom of the market was higher by ₹5-10 and more for all varieties, the auctioneers Forbes, Ewart & Figgis said. In orthodox dust, the market for primary and secondary grades was dearer by ₹5-10. The quantity offered was 12,500 kg and exporters absorbed a small quantity.

In CTC leaf, the market for brokens and Fannings was higher by ₹5-10 and more following quality. It sometimes outsold respective dust grades. The quantity offered was 98,000 kg.

However, the demand was only fair with respect to orthodox leaf in the offered quantity of 3,61,479 kg.