Tea prices slightly gain at Mombasa weekly auction

A kilo averaged $1.84 (Sh199.09) this week.

In Summary

•The gain is from $1.82(Sh195.84 ) recorded last week.

•It however remains below the preferred two-dollar mark.

A truck ferrying sacks of tea for export from warehouses in Shimanzi, Mombasa/FILE
TEA PRICES A truck ferrying sacks of tea for export from warehouses in Shimanzi, Mombasa/FILE

Average tea prices at the weekly Mombasa auction slightly gained this week, despite remaining below the preferred two-dollar mark for the eleventh week running.

This week, the commodity averaged $1.84 (Sh199.09) a kilo, up from $1.82(Sh195.84 ) last week, even as volumes traded increased to 11 million kilos from last week's 10.3 million kilos.

“Out of 185,020 packages(12,214,551 kilos) available for sale, 166,920 packages (11,044,918 Kilos)were sold. 9.78 per cent packages remained unsold,” the East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) notes in its market report.

According to the association which manages the auction , there was increased and strong inquiry from Egyptian Packers and were forceful with more support from Sudan, Yemen, other Middle Eastern countries and Bazaar.

“Pakistan Packers, Kazakhstan, other CIS states, Russia and UK were active while Afghanistan showed selective tendency. Iran were quieter. Local Packers bought tea on account of price. Somalia were active at the lower end of the market,” EATTA managing director Edward Mudibo notes in the report.

Mombasa auction is one of the largest in the world where teas from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo are traded.

The commodity has fetched a 2-dollar overall average only once this year which came in the second week of March, when a kilo sold for an average $2 (Sh216.40).

This year's lowest price so far remains $1.81(Sh195.84) which was recorded in the second week of April.

Last month, Kenya Tea Development Agency noted persistent high production and a global oversupply, which it said had pushed down the average tea prices for its managed factories.

The low prices so far signal low earnings for farmers, who last year were cushioned by a stronger dollar against the shillings as prices remained low.

Top 10 tea exporting countries are China, India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Iran and Argentina.

Last year, average tea auction prices fell by six per cent compared to the previous year, blamed on the high production and a depressed market occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

2020's full-year average price was $1.80 (Sh192.02 ), which was lower compared to 2019, when it fetched an average $2.05 (Sh218.69) at the auction.