4:42 pm - Tuesday January 18, 0794

Tea prices fall on poor quality amid political unrest

Tea prices in Bangladesh declined for a fourth straight week at a weekly auction on Tuesday due to supplies of poor grade leaf amid political unrest.

Bangladesh has been racked by political violence since anti-government protests turned violent last month over a disputed election a year ago.

teaMore than 100 people have died and hundreds have been injured, most of them in firebomb attacks on vehicles, amid a violent nationwide transport blockade by the main opposition party aimed at toppling the government.

Demand from local buyers was sluggish as political violence and uncertainties hurt business sentiment while volumes also slipped amid non-stop transport blockades disrupting supplies, an executive with National Brokers Ltd said.

Bangladeshi tea fetched an average 174.30 taka ($2.40) per kg, compared with 185.94 taka at the previous sale, he said.

There were higher supplies of poor quality tea for which buyers sought discounts, also leading to a drop in overall prices, he added.

About 1.63 million kg was offered at the sole auction centre in Chittagong, of which 31 percent remained unsold. In the previous auction, about 1.75 million kg was offered, with nearly 38 percent remaining unsold.

Tea production in Bangladesh rose 1.6 percent in 2013 to a record 63.5 million kg due to favourable weather but was still short of the domestic consumption of about 65 million kg.

The country has moved from being a net exporter to a net importer of tea because of rising consumption.

In April 2014, Bangladesh increased customs duty to 15 percent from 5 percent to discourage imports amid a drop in local prices due to ample supplies.

Following are the results of the latest auction. Figures are in Bangladesh taka per kg.

BROKENS

Bold/Large Brokens                           not quoted

Medium Brokens                               145-165

Small Brokens                                    165-180

Plain Brokens                                      90-120

FANNINGS

Best Fannings                                     205-225

Good Fannings                                   190-200

Medium Fannings                             160-170

Plain Fannings                                    90-120

DUST

Pekoe Dust                           not quoted

Red Dust                             155-246

Dust                                        160-263

Churamoni Dust                 170-249

– Reuters


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