South India Sale Continues as North Awaits Production

India Price Watch

March 26th, 2021

The focus is still on the south this week. 

PRICES

The Kochi center has been the busiest and Sale 11 saw more upcountry buyers who are looking for teas for blending as production in the north has only just begun and both volume and quality are currently low. Export orders picking up from CIS countries and the Middle East. Average price realization for orthodox Nilgiri leaf tea hovered at around INRs 163 between sales 11 and 12. Kochi at least saw better prices and buyers for leaf tea this week and not so much for dust tea although the biggest buyer for the dust tea remains the government-owned commodities retailer, Supplyco, 93% of orthodox leaf on offer was sold.

In Coonoor, average prices went up by about INRs 1 in Sale 11 and this seems to have discouraged buyers. About 30% of the tea on offer remained unsold. Orthodox green and black tea continues to do as expected, earning between 200-300 per kg depending on quality and estate. However, it was a BP grade CTC black tea from Pinewood estate crossed the INRs 300 mark. 

In the north, the market is still waiting for the new teas to arrive. There was no sale last week in Kolkata. There was no Sale 12 in the north across the auction centers. It’s likely that there will be little to report until April. 

BUYERS

The purchase of bulk tea for the domestic market continues to be led by Hindustan Unilever (HUL) and Tata Consumer Products (TCP). Informist Media reported that last year, HUL outpaced Tata in volume of purchase. Both continue to remain key players this financial year as well for the bulk tea market. Expectations are that they will continue to seek quality and therefore pay a higher price. A senior tea broker from Guwahati has said that both HUL and TCP had paid a premium of about INRs 90 per kg in north Indian auctions. 

FOCUS DARJEELING

The early Darjeeling first flush is quickly being picked up in private sales. We spoke to tea producer and Darjeeling exporter, Rajiv Lochan, who says that prices are stabilizing after the initial excitement of the first flush. With the second and third regular plucking round, stability has returned. However, he also adds that the competition with Nepal tea is growing and it’s not about prices this time round but about convincing markets that Darjeeling is still a brand to reckon with.

China Price Watch

China rates weather and labor conditions on a scale of 1-5, with 5 indicating ideal conditions. In most regions this week the current harvest conditions are rated 3 or 4 which is described as optimal with no extreme weather events. Early harvest West Lake Longjing No. 43 in Manjuelong Village, began March 12 but there were only a small number of bushes ready to pluck. Large-scale harvesting of West Lake Longjing Tea will begin shortly. Meitan from Guizhou is currently available in quantities along with most of the tea grown in Hubei (Wufeng Green).

March 23th, 2021

Average Domestic Prices for Finished Tea in USD per 500 grams Low High
Westlake Dragonwell (西湖龙井) | Hangzhou, Zhejiang $583.30 $675.40
Biluochun (Spiral Spring Green) (洞庭山碧螺春) | Suzhou, Jiangsu $506.55 $1,458.25
Huangshan Maofeng (洞庭山碧螺春) | Huangshan, Anhui $61.40 $199.55
Xinyang Maojian (信阳毛尖) | Xinigyang, Henan $122.80 $230.25
Liu’an Guapian (六安瓜片) | Lu’an, Anhui N/A N/A
Taiping Houkui (太平猴魁) | Huangshan, Anhui N/A N/A
Meitan Cuiya (湄潭翠芽) | Zunyi, Guizhou $79.82 $122.80
Wuyi Rock Tea (武夷岩茶) } Wuyishan, Fujian N/A N/A
Dafuo Dragonwell (大佛龙井) | Xinchang, Zhejiang $69.08 $199.56
Wufeng Green (五峰绿茶) | Wufeng, Hubei $33.77 $153.50
N/A indicates insufficient quantities harvested to establish a reliable price range..

March 17th, 2021

Average Domestic Prices for Finished Tea in USD per 500 grams Low High
Westlake Dragonwell (西湖龙井) | Hangzhou, Zhejiang $615.20 $692.10
Biluochun (Spiral Spring Green) (洞庭山碧螺春) | Suzhou, Jiangsu $461.40 $1,353.44
Huangshan Maofeng (洞庭山碧螺春) | Huangshan, Anhui $92.28 $246.00
Xinyang Maojian (信阳毛尖) | Xinigyang, Henan N/A N/A
Liu’an Guapian (六安瓜片) | Lu’an, Anhui N/A N/A
Taiping Houkui (太平猴魁) | Huangshan, Anhui N/A N/A
Meitan Cuiya (湄潭翠芽) | Zunyi, Guizhou $83.05 $123.04
Wuyi Rock Tea (武夷岩茶) } Wuyishan, Fujian N/A N/A
Dafuo Dragonwell (大佛龙井) | Xinchang, Zhejiang $104.58 $230.70
Wufeng Green (五峰绿茶) | Wufeng, Hubei $46.14 $153.80
N/A indicates insufficient quantities harvested to establish a reliable price range..
Prices are reported by tea type in representative growing regions. Price calculations are local, reflecting domestic prices averaged from many different farms to determine a range. In general the lower range describes teas available in quantity. The high range is influenced by scarcity but in China, many desirable, high-value teas are grown in large quantities. Averages are calculated in Chinese Yuan and converted to USD. Export prices vary greatly from the domestic averages listed above. Source: China Tea Marketing Association | Special thanks to Si Chen in Beijing for translating.

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