KARACHI: Tea blenders are flexing their muscles to increase prices of the commodity as one of the leading packers has informed the retailers about the new rates effective from the last week of this month.

A retailer said that Unilever Pakistan Limited has shared a price list in which the new rates of Lipton 90gm, 190gm, 475gm and 950gm packs are Rs150, Rs290, Rs699 and Rs1,350 as compared to Rs140, Rs270, Rs650 and Rs1,250.

Supreme 90gm, 190gm, 475gm and 950gm will be available at Rs130, Rs260, Rs640 and Rs1,200 as compared to Rs120, Rs240, Rs599 and Rs1,100 respectively, he said adding that the new prices would come into force from May 30.

Other blenders quickly followed suit. Likewise, the price of loose tea would also go up, he added.

Former chairman of the Pakistan Tea Association (PTA), Mohammad Shoaib Paracha said domestic tea prices may remain under pressure due to the massive rupee devaluation against the dollar in the last few months and uncertain rupee-dollar parity in coming days. One dollar had closed at Rs192.53 on Friday, which was Rs176.80 on January 1.

He said tea is arriving from at least 10 countries, in which the bulk of tea is imported mainly from Kenya, followed by Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

According to the data of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country imported 216,200 tonnes of black tea worth $532 million in 10MFY22 down from 217,740 tonnes valued at $489m in the same period last fiscal year. The average per tonne price of tea in the last 10 months soared to $2,462 as compared to $2,241 in the above period.

Tea stall owners have already pushed the rates by Rs5 per doodh pati cup (milk tea) three months back to Rs45 besides reducing the quantity of tea. Plain tea also costs Rs35.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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