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Market News

Unsold tea at weekly sale in significant drop

tea picker kericho
A worker at Unilever tea estate in Kericho. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Sellers released more tea for sale this week than in the previous sale as the price of the commodity rose marginally on Tuesday.

Only 16 percent of the tea offered went unsold compared with 22 percent in previous trading.

This came as the price of the commodity rose marginally but remained within a four-year low after sliding in the previous sale.

A market report from the auction indicates a kilogram fetched Sh207 up from Sh205 it sold at last week.

“Out of 172,431 packages (11.31 million kilograms) available for sale, 144,121 packages (9,363,852 kilograms) were sold with 16 percent of the packages remaining unsold,” said East African Tea Traders Association in the report.

Reducing volumes at the auction are expected to push the price up in the coming days.

The quantities offered for sale have been declining in the last three sales with this week’s volume dropping from 10 million kilos to 9.3 million.

Drought

Buyers at the auction had last month projected the price of the commodity was poised to go up in the coming sales as a result of the ongoing drought, which has cut the supply of green leaf to the factories.

It was expected panic buying resulting from anticipated shortage would push up the price above the current lows.

The Tea Directorate has forecast the volumes of the beverage will this year drop to 416 million kilograms from a high of 474 million kilograms last year.

The decline, said the directorate, would see the average auction price surge to Sh280 a kilogram up from Sh260 achieved in 2018. The fall in tea prices is likely to compound the forex inflow situation with the poor scenario repeated in the coffee sector.

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