India's tea production in the first half of 2020 fell 26.4% from a year ago to 348.26 million kilograms (kg) as heavy floods and coronavirus movement restrictions curbed output in the main producing region, the state-run Tea Board said in a statement.
Tea growing areas, notably Assam - which accounts for more than half the country's production - suffered flooding in May, June and July.
Domestic prices have risen to a record high as a result, which may limit exports by the world's second-biggest producer, potentially enabling Kenya and Sri Lanka to ship more, multiple trade sources said. In June, India produced 138.52 million kilograms of tea, down 8% from a year ago as plucking was affected by floods in north-eastern state of Assam, the Tea Board said.
Recovery in the crop was unlikely in the second half of the year
Sujit Patra, secretary at Indian Tea Association said a recovery in the crop was unlikely in the second half of the year. In July, weekly auction prices jumped to a record of 232.60 rupees ($3.12) per kg, up 57% from a year ago, according to the Tea Board.
India's tea exports in the first five months of 2020 fell 26.6% from a year ago to 74.40 million kilograms, it said. The country exports CTC (crush-tear-curl) grade mainly to Egypt, Pakistan and the United Kingdom, with the orthodox variety shipped to Iraq, Iran and Russia.