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Commodities

Tea price hits 5-month high on low volume

An auctioneer takes buyers through the markets at East African Tea Trade Association auction
An auctioneer takes buyers through the markets at East African Tea Trade Association auction. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tea prices at the Mombasa auction rose to a five month high this week with the continued trend of high returns at the auction seeing traders withdraw a record volume from the floor in anticipation of a higher value in the coming sales.

A market report from the East African Tea Traders Association (Eatta) shows a kilogramme of the beverage on average fetched Sh220 up from Sh210 last week.

This is the first time in the last five months that the price has crossed the two-dollar mark.

The report indicates that 26 percent of the total volumes offered for sale was withdrawn from the auction floor, the highest this year.

“Out of 135,583 packages (8,929,677 kilos) available for sale, 100,161 packages (6,631,499 kilos) were sold. 26.13 percent packages remained unsold,” said the report.

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Tea prices at the auction have been rising in the last six sales as the demand for the commodity at the auction soars in recent days amid a decline in volumes.

This week’s volumes dropped by 1.4 million kilos.

The volumes have been declining in the last five sales occasioned by low volumes coming in from the factories.

Tea production in the first half of this year grew by 41 percent on the back of good weather in the first quarter of this year, marking one of the highest volumes to be witnessed in the recent year.

Industry figures from the regulator indicated the volumes rose to 300.6 million kilogrammes in the in the first half of this year from 212.6 million kilos in the corresponding period in 2019.

The Tea Directorate says production, which has already started declining in the last three months, will remain depressed for the remainder of the year because of the cold season witnessed in June and July and cessation of rain.

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