Tanzania’s Benchmark Coffee Falls 14% as Bean Quality Drops

Tanzania’s benchmark coffee grade fell 14 percent at an auction yesterday as the quality of beans declined, the Tanzania Coffee Board said.

The average price for the top arabica AA grade dropped to $251.89 for a 50-kilogram (110-pound) bag, from $292.79 at the previous sale on April 8, the board said today by e-mail from Moshi, in northern Tanzania. Supplies of the grade rose 37 percent to 1,653 bags, it said.

The average price for all coffee sold fell by an average of $38.59 per bag, the agency said.

Supplies at the 31st auction of the 2010-11 season dropped 11 percent to 6,922 60-kilogram (132-pound) bags because of dwindling stocks, the agency said. The board costs its beans in terms of 50-kilogram bags, although offers and sales in are 60- kilogram bags. Sales fell 19 percent to 4,869 bags, it said.

Tanzania reaps its crop from April through August. Arabica accounts for 75 percent of the country’s output, while robusta accounts for the rest.

Output in the 12 months through June may climb 54 percent to about 55,000 from a year earlier because of improved weather, Adolph Kumburu, the board’s director general, said last month.

The following are details of yesterday’s auction in U.S. dollars for a 50-kilogram bag for the good grades:

Grade               Offer     Sold      High   Low     Average
Arabica AA          1,653     1,353     271    203     251.89
Arabica A           2,001     1,476     270    200     255.50
Arabica B           1,917     1,371     229    200     212.31
Arabica PB            455       404     249    200     237.89
Arabica C             345       231     192    158     164.09
Robusta Superior       19        19      75     75      75.00

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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