" Rush crops will not reach past high levels"
John Keells Tea Brokers says that though cropping conditions are somewhat better rush crops will not reach high levels of the past few years.
" Producers would no doubt have heaved a sigh of relief as they witnessed improved demand teas suitable for the Middle East, particularly the Low Growns. After a hesitant start, most varieties advanced Rs. 5/- to Rs. 10/- with the absorption rate over 90%. Several factors would have contributed to this revival. The Inventories in the Middle Eastern markets would have been chopping rapidly, whilst reports indicated that Iran was very short of tea. This would have induced overseas buyers to place orders, particularly as price levels were attractive and the shipping lanes continued to be open. The absence of an auction next week and the long spate of holidays marking the New Year vacation would have been another important factor. In Colombo, the decision to disallow the sale of unsold teas to exporters, and in finding a channel for the disposal of such teas would also have made our exporters to buy now.
Liquoring teas in the Ex-Estate sale were expected to stay weak. However, there was improved demand for most BOPFs, the best BOPs on offer, and a few Fair Average Quality BOPs that had good style and strong liquors. The demand appeared to emanate from several Countries, notably the UK and South Africa. The Dusts and Off Grades and teas offered in the High and Medium catalogue were all well absorbed with a high percentage selling above last levels. The market therefore concluded on a satisfactory note, with two record prices. Uda Radella obtained Rs. 330/- which is a record for the Western High Grown BOPFs whilst, Kalubowitiyana secured Rs. 310, which is a record for CTC PF1 grade.
The inter-monsoonal rains have abated and reasonably bright weather was experienced last week in most planting Districts. Cropping conditions are somewhat better but reports indicate that rush crops will not reach high levels of the past few years. The South West Monsoon can be expected to break in middle of May. Until this time, reasonably good product quality along, with fair crops can be expected.
In the mean time, the current sales are in excess of 6 Mkg, whilst, the last sale in April will see an offer quantity in excess of 7 Mk g. However, these sale quantities have been propped up by the large volume of unsold teas and have been re-catalogued."
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