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Bangladesh Tea Market Review:

Demand for Bangladesh Teas
On the whole, demand was sluggish for most of 1999 as export markets were much less active than during the previous season. However, internal buyers lent good support and absorbed the bulk of the offering in the initial auctions at progressively lower rates and, as the season progressed to the end of July 1999, demand slackened quite considerably and withdrawals in the auctions were fairly heavy. This declining trend was reversed in August when strong export interest and more widespread demand from the internal buyers greatly improved the market segment and consequently the prices at the auctions. These buyers lent fairly good support during October and November and there was progressive improvement in their activities during December.

Demand slackened at the beginning of 2000 with a heavy weight of teas on offer in the auctions. February began with a similar tone but soon improved and all sections of the market, especially the export market, lent some good support despite the large offerings. The last few sales of the 1999/2000 season mainly comprised end of season types but the few good invoices attracted useful support from the internal market. Export inquiries were limited.

Since the new seasonís sale that began in late April 2000, demand has been restricted for about six weeks to only well-made, bright-liquoring teas and, as a result, quite a lot of poorly-made teas were neglected and remained unsold. However, a better demand was seen in the following months, and most of the unsold teas of poor quality, along with an increased weight of better quality teas, were absorbed by the local buyers to satisfy internal demand. Export buyers began to appear in the market from the end of July and their activities gathered energy from August, contributing to a firm demand which lasted until the end of November 2000.

The Market
The first sale of the 1999/2000 season, held on May 11, 1999, was marked by a strong demand from the internal buyers at prices well over the closing rates, the average price being Tk. 80.18. However, price levels gradually declined in subsequent sales owing to lack of export enquiry. By Sale no. 10, held in the middle of July, the average price had registered a sharp drop and stood at Tk. 53.25 per kg as against Tk. 62.96 per kg for the same sale of the previous season. However, a firm market at this level prevailed up to the end of September. A much stronger demand was witnessed from the last week of September but export inquiries were sharply lower from November onwards following lack of competition. From the first week of December 1999, a much stronger market prevailed following increased buying by internal and export buyers mainly from Russia, CIS, Pakistan, and Poland. Afghanistan also re-entered the market and, for a few weeks, operated very strongly for well-made Brokens at satisfactory levels. As a result, rates improved quite appreciably and by the end of December, the average price for the last sale of the century recorded an average price of Tk.62.37.

The year 2000 started with an easier market and prices declining by an average of Tk.2.50/- per kg. The market improved for a short spell in February when all sections showed an active interest.

In the market for the season 2000/2001, tea witnessed a fair activity until the end of June, mostly from internal buyers, but when the auction offerings increased in July, prices eased due to a lack of sufficient export demand. There was an improved demand in August and generally, prices moved upwards. This trend was maintained in September and stayed firm until the last week of the year.

Internal buyers, from both the loose tea section and the packeteers, were the principal operators at the auctions and purchased a higher volume of tea than during the previous year. Poland, Pakistan and Afghanistan bought much less tea during the 1999/2000 season, but Russia bought an increased weight from this center. Kazakistan operated in greater strength but all other export markets, notably Iran and Sudan, were much less active.

Since the start of the new season, Pakistan has dominated the market and shipments until the end of September 2000 to that country amount to 6.2 million kg, as against 2.5 million in the previous season. Afghan buyers come second to Pakistan and, although they started to operate only from August, their presence has been strongly felt, especially in the market for well made Brokens and Fannings. Poland has been virtually absent while Russian buying was negligible. CIS lent less support than during the previous season.

The internal loose tea buyers were quite active in the first few weeks of the new seasonís auctions but only moderately so in the subsequent months. On the other hand, the internal blenders were active throughout and bought more tea than in the similar period last season.

Tea & Coffee - February/March 2001


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