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Commodities

Tea price at 10-month high on low supply

Workers pick tea
Workers pick tea in Nyamira County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tea prices at the Mombasa auction have hit a 10-month high after months of poor performance as volumes declined by 2.3 million kilos.

Data from the East African Tae Traders Association (Eatta) indicate a kilo fetched Sh235 last week against Sh225 in the previous sale marking the highest price recorded this year.

The price kicked off at Sh215 a kilo in the first sale of 2019 before taking a downward trend to touch a four-year low of Sh193 early last month.

However, prices have been rebounding in the last three sales as volumes declined.

The volumes have been coming down as the drought that ravaged the country in the first quarter cut supply of green leaf to factories.

In March, over 40,000 employees working in tea factories were forced to go on advance leave as production dropped by half.

Kenya Tea Growers Association said harsh weather conditions had forced factories to operate three to four days a week.

The Tea Directorate had forecast that the volumes will this year drop to 416 million kilos from a high of 474 million kilos last year.

The decline, said the directorate, will see the average auction price surge to Sh280 a kilo up from Sh260 in 2018.

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