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Assam tea prices firm up as output goes down

Assam tea prices firm up as output goes down

November 8, 2017

 

Prices of Assam tea have risen 5-11 per cent in the past fortnight as excessive rains in September and early onset of winter took their toll on the commodity production.Planters said that the initial hiccups following the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) regime from July have eased and tea sales have picked up.

 

"Excessive rains in September brought down production at Assam's tea estates by at least 20 per cent," Azam Monem, chairman of Indian Tea Association, told ET."Last year, the industry had witnessed a record crop in September. But that did not happen this year. Rains continued in October as well. And in November we are witnessing an early onset of winter, which will affect production as well." He said that tea production in 2017 will fall short of the target of 1,300 million kg. Till August this year, tea production was up 4.36 per cent over the year-ago figure to 766.72 million kg.

 

In 2016, India had produced 1,267.36 million kg of teas. In September 2016, the country had produced 190 million kg of teas, of which Assam alone had contributed 112.22 million kg.Due to early onset of winter, production has started tapering down and the estates will close down by the first week of December instead of third week of December, Monem said.Lesser availability of teas from September has already pushed up prices of good quality Assam CTC and orthodox teas (whole leaf teas manufactured using the traditional process of making tea) at the auctions since the third week of October. Some of the best quality Assam teas are commanding 11 per cent higher prices than last year.

 

"On an average, prices of CTC, dust and orthodox teas are up 5-11 per cent," said J Kalyansundaram, secretary, Calcutta Tea Traders' Association. The hiccups on account of rollout of the GST regime are fading away, said Goodricke Group managing director AN Singh. "Demand is strong across all categories of teas. Export market is also firm for orthodox teas," he said.

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