Tanzania coffee prices rise, demand seen high
* Supply increases, quality of beans improves * Next auction to be held on Aug. 30 By Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala DAR ES SALAAM, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Tanzania's robusta coffee prices rose at auction this week, buoyed by continued strong demand and an improvement in the quality of beans supplied to the market, the regulator Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) said on Friday. State-run TCB said 32,435 60-kg bags were offered at the latest sale, of which 28,595 bags were purchased. At the previous sale, a total of 22,367 60-kg bags had been offered and 20,605 bags sold. "There has been an improvement in the quality of coffee supplied to the auction this week, and this has been reflected by the increasingly high prices that the coffee bags fetched at the latest sale," Primus Kimaryo, director of quality and promotion with the state coffee board, told Reuters. "Traders were very competitive in the auction, with some of them looking to cover their short positions. We have seen that demand for robusta coffee has still remained very high." Traders snapped up all the robusta coffee on offer at the auction. Tanzania, Africa's fourth-largest coffee producer 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. The TCB expected the 2012/13 (June/April) crop to rise to 55,000 tonnes from around 32,000 tonnes in the previous season. "The overall average price at the Moshi exchange was up by $1.43 per 50 kg for mild arabica and up by $5.43 per 50 kg for robusta compared to the last auction," TCB said in a report on the sale held last week. "Average prices were below the terminal market by $1.77 per 50 kg for mild arabica, while robusta was above the terminal market by $14.43 per 50 kg." East African coffee is normally packed in 60-kg bags, but prices are quoted for quantities of 50 kg. Benchmark grade AA sold at $138.00-$210.00 per bag, compared with $164.00-$188.00 per bag previously. The average price was $173.35 per bag, down from $175.05. Grade A fetched $164.00-$181.20 per bag, compared with $164.00-$180.00 per bag at the previous sale. The average price fell to $168.03 from $170.09. The auction was held on Thursday and TCB released the results on Friday. The next auction will be held on Aug. 30. PRICE (dollars) GRADE OFFERED SOLD LOW HIGH AVERAGE AA 6,690 6,293 138.00 210.00 173.35 A 6,558 5,865 164.00 181.20 168.03 AB 881 516 164.00 171.20 168.95 B 5,613 4,768 161.00 180.20 164.03 PB 2,255 2,034 160.00 169.80 164.16 C 1,203 1,203 134.00 152.00 143.56 ROBUSTA ORGANIC 1,079 1,079 110.80 114.20 112.51 ROBUSTA OVER SCN 18 360 360 111.20 111.20 111.20 ROBUSTA SUPERIOR 2,519 2,519 103.60 109.00 106.54 ROBUSTA FAQ 3,598 3,598 100.00 102.20 100.80 ARABICA ORGANIC 240 - - - - ARABICA FAQ 1,439 360 138.00 138.00 138.00 (Editing by George Obulutsa and Jane Baird)
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