Tea prices all despite thin supplies amid unrest

Tea prices in Bangladesh fell sharply for a second straight week at the weekly auction on Wednesday on subdued demand from local buyers despite a drop in supplies amid political unrest.

teaBangladesh has been racked by political unrest since anti-government protests turned violent early this year over a disputed election a year ago. More than 120 people have been killed and hundreds injured, most in petrol bomb attacks on vehicles, amid opposition transport blockades and strikes aimed at toppling the government.

Overall, prices fell sharply again this week even though supplies were much lower from last week amid non-stop transport blockades, an executive with National Brokers Ltd said. Demand from local buyers was also tepid as the continuing political uncertainty hurt business sentiment, he added. Bangladeshi tea fetched an average 142.06 taka ($1.82) per kg, compared with 152.29 taka at the previous sale, he said.

Around 881,500 kg were offered at the sole auction centre in Chittagong, of which 31 percent remained unsold. In the previous auction, about 1.07 million kg were offered, with nearly 26 percent remaining unsold. Bangladesh’s annual inflation rate rose in February, ending a declining trend since August, as renewed political unrest disrupted the country’s supply chain, sending food and non-food prices higher despite a dip in global commodity prices.