By Amena Bakr
Droughts and delayed rain in major producing countries results in global tea deficit.
Tea trade in Dubai fell 24.4 percent to 112.3 million kg in 2009 after a fall in global production, data from the Gulf emirate's tea industry body showed on Tuesday.
Droughts and delayed rainfalls in major producing countries such as India resulted in a global black tea deficit of around 56.6 million kg in 2009, a 3.2 percent drop from the previous year, Dubai Tea Trading Centre (DTTC) said in a statement.
Total tea trade amounted to 112.3 million kg in 2009, the statement said. In 2008, total volume had been 148.6 million kg, according to a previous statement.
Despite the drop in the emirate's total tea volume, tea traded through the DTTC reached 7.5 million kg in 2009, a 26.5 percent increase from the previous year, the statement added.
While speaking to reporters, Sanjay Sethi, head of the DTTC, said: "This (rise) is due to our increased value-added services such as blending, packaging of tea bags as well as loose tea in retail formats, storage facilities and office space for tea companies which makes DTTC appealing to international tea traders."
The DTTC was formed in 2005 and is a subsidiary of the Dubai Multi Commodity Centre (DMCC), set up by the Dubai government to promote commodity trade.
The DTTC facility offers 5,000 tonnes of storage capacity where producers can store tea up to 60 days free of charge.
Sri Lanka, India and Kenya are Dubai's top trading partners, contributing over 65 percent of its total tea trade, Sethi added.
With an improvement in climate conditions this year, a trend of higher tea production had caused tea prices to be volatile over the past few weeks, however the DTTC remains bullish on price levels as carry forward stock levels are low, he said.
This year the overall average world tea auction prices increased by 12.4 percent compared to the same period last year, the statement added.
Asked if tea futures would be launched soon in Dubai, Sethi said that the matter was being considered, however there was no set time frame to do so.
He said: "The challenge with tea futures is finding a way to standardise the different grades and types of tea," he said. (Reuters)