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Tanzania Coffee Prices Firm, Quantity Down

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzanian coffee prices firmed this week, boosted by high demand for the small amount of beans on offer as the 2008/09 crop comes to a close, traders said on Friday.
The state-run Tanzania Coffee Board (TCB) said 2,032 60-kg bags were offered at the auction, with 1,496 bags sold. At the previous sale three weeks ago, 3,173 60-kg bags were offered and 2,757 sold.
Benchmark grade AA sold at $142.80-$200.00 per 50-kg bag, compared with $122.80-$152.80 previously.
"The prices were really good. I think there is high demand for the little coffee that is coming for sale. The quality was quite good," said Gosbert Rutunda, a trader at Kagera Cooperative Union.
Grade A fetched $132.00-$159.00, compared with $117.20-$150.00 at the last sale.
Tanzania is Africa's fourth-largest coffee grower after Ethiopia, Uganda and Ivory Coast, according to the International Coffee Organization.
The east African nation mostly grows arabica coffee, but it also produces some robusta. Its prices largely follow those of arabica in New York and robusta in London.
TCB forecasts production in 2008/09 May/April to close at 62,000 tonnes, a 42 percent jump over the previous year.
The auction was held on Thursday, but TCB released the results on Friday.

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