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Commodities

Tea prices stuck at 3-year low on reduced demand

Iriaini tea factory
Workers at Iriaini tea factory in Othaya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Tea price at the Mombasa auction remains at a three-year low amid depressed demand globally, despite a slight uptick in this week’s sale.

A market report from the East Africa Tea Trade Association (Eatta) indicates that a kilo of the beverage went up marginally to sell at Sh190 on average from Sh186 in the previous sale but remained within the three -year low bracket.

The value rebounded this week albeit marginally, after a streak of falling prices in the last 10 weeks, pointing to reduced earnings for farmers in the just ended financial year.

Low prices have seen traders in the last two months withdraw huge volumes of tea from the trading floor. In this week’s trading, 23 percent of the total tea that had been offered for sale was withdrawn from the auction.

Of the 12.5 million kilos that were available for sale during the sale, 9.6 million kilos were offloaded with the balance going unsold.

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Tea price had opened the year on a high of Sh224 a kilo but the value has been going down since February in what has been attributed to decreased demand of the beverage as a result of the Covid-19, which has disrupted the market.

Tea exports to Kenya’s top three markets declined significantly in the first quarter as the world grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, which has impacted on trade globally.

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

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