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Tuesday, December 9, 1997 Published at 13:15 GMT



Business

London tea auction to become a thing of the past
image: [ International competition threatened the auction ]
International competition threatened the auction

The London tea auction, a city institution for more than 300 years ago, is to be phased out by next June.

International competition and computers are said to be the culprits.

A spokesman for one of the two remaining brokerages at the auction said trade was down to a tenth of what it was 20 years ago.

The first auction was held by the East India Company in March 1679 and by 1834 it was being held every week.

Several factors are behind the auction's demise. Bulk deliveries are increasingly popular and the development of a 24-hour global trading environment has changed the way tea brokers trade.

Rival auctions in Mombasa in Kenya, Calcutta and Colombo have also eroded its position.






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