Charity tea auctions are not something new to the tea trade. However 10th September was quite extraordinary in that the American Ambassador Robert O Blake was present to witness what usually goes on at the weekly tea auctions, and hopefully he would spread the word that the tea trade and its auction is something phenomenal and that US buyers should visit, and perhaps glean some pointers how things work. Also it was hoped that many doors would open to the not so bad tea trade.
As already said the charity auction raised approximately in excess 6 million SLR. All proceeds would go for tsunami aid monitored by the Colombo Tea Traders Association. (CTTA).
Asia Siyaka whom we quote, recorded the extra ordinary auction which carried teas from Dimbula, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Udapussellawa, Uva, Sabaragamuwa, and Rhuna. A wide mix of different teas representative of the country’s tea.
CTTA sources said the sale was a success.
Last week 5.8 million kilos were on offer. Buying was brisk and according to the Asia Siyaka weekly tea report, demand from all elevations were substantial.
Uvas sold well. Malwatta Valley holdings were outstanding. Aislaby, formerly owned by the Bostock family, turned up an exceedingly out standing price of Rs. 1300. per kilo for a BOP line. Similarly St. James Estate. St James has a Hali Ela address, but its tea concentration is also in the Malwatte valley. Bombugalla in the Welimada basin again scored well selling a BOP at Rs. 1500. per kilo.
Of the Western highs, marks that are for mention were Laxapana, in the Peak wilderness, selling a bop for 355. per kilo. Also Matakelle, in Talawakelle, Strathespy and Stockholm, in Upcot, two Estates re-emerged to join the top seller bracket, who each sold BOPF at 370. per kilo.
According to readings entered by Eastern Brokers, CT Cs were not that much in demand. Dunsinane, Mount Vernon, and Florence, the selling mark for Abbotsleigh, in Hatton, sold BP 1 and PF 1 for comparatively good prices. However trade sources said these tea should have had greater demand, particularly because of the Kenya factor we addressed last week. High forest in Kandapola, and Ragalla, in the Ragalla basin, did well selling at approximately Rs. 400. per kilo.
Kenya, we learn may be forced to reduce production.
Last week we spoke of Ceylons taking a piggy – back ride on heels of the Kenyan de- escalation in production. That was one phenomenon we could say we could benefit from, but that did not mean that estates could drop standards.
Brokers said when things go well standards drop clearly accepting that anything would sell, and sell well. These were grievous errors that came a cropper when the real crunch set in. and only good teas sold. Not those of mediocre origin.
Brokers said the piggy-back riding days may perhaps be numbered, and cautioned that under no circumstances should standards be sacrificed for expediency.
They were referring to Planters and Plantations.
Production to date was 222.3 million kilos. approximately 15 % above last year for the same period.