Sri Lankan tea prices rose at this week’s Colombo auctions following the sharp depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar and lower volumes on offer, brokers said.

“There was fair demand and generally a better undertone particularly towards the close of the sale,” Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said in a report.

“This trend could be attributed to the depreciation of the rupee vis-à-vis the US dollar and the improved buying interest from shippers to the Commonwealth of Independent States.” Teas from estates on the western slopes of the central hills gained by 20 rupees a kilo and more depending on quality, the brokers said.

Even the plainer varieties of tea gained 10 rupees a kilo or more although the poorer teas were difficult to sell.

Seasonal from the Uva growing region on the eastern slopes also continued to sell well following quality with some types gaining 10-20 rupees a kilo.

The brokers said there was improved demand from shippers to the CIS, South Africa and Hong Kong.

Low grown teas from the south also gained in price. “This could be attributed mainly to the lower quantity on offer coupled with the devaluation of the rupee against the dollar making our prices more competitive,” Forbes & Walker Tea Brokers said.