Tanzania Arabica coffee prices rise, season nears end

Tanzania's Arabica coffee prices rose at last week's auction, helped by demand from exporters as Robusta coffee stocks began to run out, according to the Reuters News Agency.

State-run Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) said a total of 16,610 bags, each with the capacity of 60 kilos, were offered at the latest sale whereby 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 started to diminish.

"Prevailing high demand for coffee is pushing up prices at 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 stock in order to meet their export commitments."Market participants said a rise in world prices last week also drove local prices higher.

"There is a 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 enjoying good prices in the coming auctions," he said. Tanzania, which is Africa's fourth largest coffee grower after Ethiopia, Uganda and Cote d’Ivoire, 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.

"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.
Sources: Reuters,af.reuters.com
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