India tea prices drop as buyers seek discount for poor grade leaf

MUMBAI - Average tea prices in India, the world's second-biggest producer, fell at this week's auction as buyers sought hefty discount for poor grade leaf.

The CTC (crush-tear-curl) grade leaf was sold at 115.63 rupees (S$2.35) per kg this week, down 3.8 per cent from the previous auction, while prices of the dust grade edged up 1 per cent to 118.12 rupees per kg.

"This week demand was good but buyers were seeking season-end supplies at lower prices," said a Kolkata-based dealer.

The highest price for top Kenyan tea slipped to US$4.13 (S$5.22) per kg at this week's auction from US$4.41 per kg last week, Africa Tea Brokers (ATB) said on Wednesday.

India's tea production in 2013 rose by 6.5 per cent from a year earlier to a record 1,200 million kg, the Indian Tea Association said, as small growers in the north-eastern part of the country plucked more leaves.