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Commodities

23pc tea withdrawn from auction as demand falls

Edward Mudibo
East African Tea Trade Association MD Edward Mudibo. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Mombasa auction has witnessed the high withdrawal of tea in the last two sales as the price of the commodity tumbles.

In the sale held in the last three weeks, traders withdrew 20 percent of the tea from the floor of the auction as the price of the commodity dipped to Sh188 from Sh192 last week.

The prices have been falling in the last two months to hit the current low, having gone up to Sh220 in April, which marked the highest point to have been achieved this year.

“Out of 186,024 packages (12,341,823 kilos) available for sale, 141,920 packages (9,505,801 kilos) were sold with 23.71 per cent of the packages going unsold,” said East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta).

The prices declined despite a reduction in volumes compared with the previous sale. According to Eatta, the quantities offered for sale were 110,000 kilos less. The declining value of tea has been attributed to low demand in the market as the outbreak of Covid-19 slows the purchases at the auction.

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Tea exports to Kenya’s top three markets declined significantly in the first quarter as the world still grappled with the pandemic, which has impacted on trade globally.

Data from the Tea Directorate shows exports to Pakistan dipped by 15 per cent while Egypt and United Kingdom recorded a decline of 10 per cent each, pointing to reduced orders and demand for Kenya’s beverage, impacting negatively on prices.

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