Tanzania Arabica coffee prices rise, season nears end

* Robusta stocks almost run out
* Prices expected to remain high
* Next auction to be held on Feb. 23

 
Tanzania's arabica coffee prices rose at last week's auction, helped by demand from exporters as robusta coffee stocks began to run out, traders
said on Tuesday.
 
State-run Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) said 16,610 60-kg bags were offered at the latest sale and 11,707 bags were sold. At the previous sale, a total of 10,454 60-kg bags were up for sale, with 9,875 bags sold.

No robusta coffee was on offer as stocks start to diminish.
 
"Prevailing high demand for coffee is pushing up prices at the auctions. Robusta coffee stocks are almost entirely depleted," said a trader at a coffee-exporting company based in the northern Tanzanian town of Moshi.
 
"The ongoing coffee season is expected to come to an end in April so many traders are keen to buy the remaining stocks in order to meet their export commitments."
 
Market participants said a rise in world prices last week also drove local prices higher. 
 
"There is good demand for coffee from northern parts of the country. The supply of coffee from southern Tanzania has started to diminish," said Elia Mkwawa, an auctioneer at TCB.
 
"There are about two or three months left until we come to the end of this season ... We expect coffee growers to continue to enjoy good prices in the coming auctions." 
 
Tanzania, which is Africa's fourth largest coffee grower after Ethiopia, Uganda and Ivory Coast, produces mainly Arabica and some robusta coffee.
 
Prices of its arabica normally track the New York market, while those of robusta take direction from London.
 
TCB expects the 2011/12 (June/April) crop to fall to 45,000  tonnes from 56,247 tonnes in the previous season.
 
"The overall average price at the Moshi exchange was up by US $5.55 per 50 kg for mild arabica compared to the last auction," TCB said.
 
"Average prices were below the terminal market by $10.18 per  50 kg for mild arabica." 
 
East African coffee is normally packed in 60-kg bags, but  prices are quoted for quantities of 50 kg. 
 
Benchmark grade AA sold at $172.00-$269.00 per bag, compared with $180.00-$272.00 per bag previously. The average price was $246.08 per bag, slightly changed from $246.49 previously.
 
Grade A fetched $171.20-$269.60 per bag, compared with $170.00-$259.20 per bag at the previous sale, and got an average  price of $245.12, down from $236.26 previously.
 
The auction was held on Thursday and TCB issued the results  on Monday. The next auction will be held on February 23.

                             PRICE (dollars) 
 GRADE 
          OFFERED  SOLD   LOW    HIGH    AVERAGE 
 AA        4,728   3,783  172.00 269.00  246.08 
 A         2,259   1,737  171.20 269.60  245.12 
 AB        5,461   3,175  180.00 268.00  255.28 
 B         1,334     870  166.00 261.00  229.02 
 PB        1,705   1,187  170.00 241.80  210.66 
 C         1,123     955  192.20 226.60  209.38



Source: Reuters,af.reuters.com, reported by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala in Dar es Salaam, Feb 14 
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