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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 July 2024

Average tea auction prices in Calcutta decline by Rs 46 per kg between July and September

CTC/dust auction prices of the organised sector covering sale 14-39 are down by Rs 12.49 per kg for Assam and Rs 11.30 per kg for Bengal

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 13.10.23, 10:09 AM
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The average auction prices of tea sold in Calcutta have come down by Rs 46 per kilogram in the July-September period, underscoring the distress being faced by the producers of the Assam orthodox variety in 2023.

Compared with an average price of Rs 270.38 a kg discovered between sale number 27 (early July) and sale 38 (late September) in 2022, the sales have fetched an average price of Rs 224.36 a kg, down by Rs 46.02 a kg, or 17 per cent, data published by the Indian Tea Association revealed.

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The price fetched in auction centres at Guwahati and Siliguri, two major centres of north Indian tea trade apart from Calcutta, are also down but not as much as Calcutta, ITA data showed.

“Tea prices are down alarmingly in 2023 and it is one of the worst in recent times, causing widespread distress among the producers. However, the price decline is more acute in Calcutta over the last 11 sales,” Arijit Raha, secretary-general of the ITA, said.

CTC/dust auction prices of the organised sector covering sale 14-39 are down by Rs 12.49 per kg for Assam and Rs 11.30 per kg for Bengal.

Auctioneers attributed the steep decline in Calcutta to the high prevalence of orthodox tea offered here.

“Almost the entire orthodox tea (leaf tea) is auctioned in Calcutta. Since, orthodox prices are down badly, it has brought down the average,” said an auctioneer.

ITA data suggests average price of orthodox tea, which is mainly exported to West Asia, is down Rs 95 a kg from mid April to the end of September.

The primary reason behind the fall is the near absence of Iran from the market. Export to Iran is down 10.98 million kg between January and July in 2023 from a year ago.

Exports to Iran stood at 21.61 million kg in 2022, down 61 per cent from 2019.

Orthodox teas had fetched good prices for Indian producers as Sri Lanka, India’s biggest competitor in the category, was down.

Many producers had switched to production of orthodox variety from CTC hoping for an encore of the last season.

They were also encouraged by a Rs 12 per kg subsidy given by the Assam government to promote the variety. Put together, it led to a higher production than 2023 but prices crashed due to Iran’s near absence.

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