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Tea prices move up, traders happy

Kolkata: Prices of teas have climbed by 10 per cent at the Guwahati auction centre and 30 per cent at the Kolkata auction centre in the first fortnight of April, compared with the same period last year, indicating a strong demand, and putting to rest the fears of tea producers that prices may not move northward in the new season due to a large carry-over stock from last year.

The price rise has been driven by orthodox teas which are produced in the gardens of Assam and Darjeeling. The estates in Assam and Darjeeling produce around 65-70 million kg of orthodox teas annually. Orthodox tea refers to either hand-processed tea or tea that is rolled with machine in a manner that mimics hand-rolling. All whole-leaf teas are made with orthodox tea production methods.

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In the second sale of April, the average auction price at Guwahati rose to Rs 171.78 per kg, compared with Rs 155 per kg last year. Similarly, the average tea price at the Kolkata auctions in the second sale went up by 30 per cent to Rs 160.80 per kg against Rs 123.79 per kg in the same sale last year.

“Orthodox teas are fetching good prices which have pushed up the overall auction prices of tea. There is strong demand of orthodox teas from Iran,” Vivek Goenka, chairman, India Tea Association (ITA), told ET. Iran had imported around 30 million kg of orthodox teas from India.

There is also demand for orthodox teas from Germany which is fuelling the price of these teas. The orthodox tea which was fetching Rs 187 per kg in Guwahati auction this time last year is now commanding a price of Rs 233.26 per kg. Similarly, at the Kolkata auction, orthodox tea is being sold at Rs 236.75 per kg, compared with Rs 174.89 per kg last year.

J Kalyanasundaram, secretary, Calcutta Tea Traders Association, said that first flush teas are now coming to the auction centres which are being bought by local retailers who will offload the teas within the next two to three months.

Source: Economic Times