TEA PRICES BREWING UP TO BEAT RECORD
By Javier Blas in London , Barney Jopson in Mombasa 2009-09-02
Tea prices are set to climb 10-15 per cent higher next year from current record highs because global inventories are depleted following crop failures by main exporters, the world's largest tea leaf producer has forecast.
The view of Mcleod Russel, the India-based plantation company, is shared by others in the industry as production has been hit by simultaneous droughts in India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. Demand has remained strong in spite of the global economic downturn as retailers say consumers treat tea as an essential that they are not willing to cut back on.
The forecast comes after prices hit a record high at an auction in the Kenyan city of Mombasa, which sets the world's benchmark. Best quality tea prices rose last week to $3.97 a kilogram, up 36 per cent from January and almost double the price in 2005.
Naveed Ariff, general manager of Global Tea & Commodities in Mombasa, added that prices for top-quality teas could rise beyond the current record of nearly $4 a kilogram owing to the poor weather. “It could even touch $4.50,” he said.
“We can see another 10-15 per cent increase next year,” Kamal Beheti, chief financial officer at Mcleod Russel, told the FT. “Prices will remain near the current level for the next few months as the harvest peaks in India, but afterwards they are likely to firm up.”
The industry is focused now on the threat of a lower crop in India next year, following a poor monsoon. But there are also hopes that a drought in eastern Africa could end soon as Kenyan weather forecasters predict strong rains from October.
蒙巴萨全球茶叶与商品公司(Global Tea & Commodities)总经理纳威德•阿里夫(Naveed Ariff)补充道，由于天气恶劣，优质茶叶的价格有可能超过目前每千克近4美元的历史纪录。“甚至可能达到4.5美元，”他表示。
Mcleod Russel首席财务官卡迈勒•贝赫梯(Kamal Beheti)向英国《金融时报》表示：“明年价格还会上涨10%至15%。未来几个月，随着印度收获季节进入高潮，价格会维持在目前的水平附近。但之后可能会继续上涨。”