Tea prices at Mombasa auction rise as Russian traders return


A woman picks tea leaves at Gathehu village in Nyeri county on October 31, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Tea prices at the Mombasa auction rallied for the first time in weeks to reverse the declining trend witnessed in the last two months as the presence of Russian traders in the market lifted the earnings marginally.

Market data shows that the price of the beverage hit Sh262 this week, up from Sh252 that was realised in the previous sale.

It was the first time since March that Russian traders have been present at the market since it invaded Ukraine in March.

“There was a reduced inquiry from Kazakhstan and other CIS states while Afghanistan was active with Russia operating at lower levels,” said East African Tea Trade Association.

The rise in price, however, did not stop huge withdrawals of teas from the auction as 34.19 percent of the total beverage was taken off the trading floor.

“There was a fairly good demand for the 200,334 packages (12.9 kilos) available for sale, 139,975 packages (9.2 kilos) were sold with 34.19 percent of packages remaining unsold,” Eatta said.

The Russian war on Ukraine cut the tea exports to the Asian nation by over half a billion in March, highlighting the negative impact that the conflict has had on Kenya’s global trade.

The Tea Board of Kenya said the earnings from Russia declined by Sh598 million in March as volumes dropped 74 percent to 686,072 from 2.6 million kilos that were achieved in the corresponding period last year.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia disrupted logistics along the Black Sea -the main port of entry to Moscow.

Moscow was also slapped with sanctions by the European Union and the US, curtailing Russia from trading in dollars, forcing traders to shy from trade.

Buyers have been attributing the low price to diminishing demand, especially for the expensive Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) teas that have a set minimum price of $2.43 a kilo.

[email protected]