MARKET REPORT DECEMBER 2019
The following report contains updates on the current trends in production and availability of the most in-demand Essential Oils and Carrier Oils sourced from around the globe.
In China, Ho Wood is harvested nearly throughout all four seasons of the year. To thrive, the tropical Ho Wood tree requires wet soils and adequate sun exposure; current growing conditions are reported to be largely favorable.
This year's harvest yield is projected to be similar to that of last year, although demand is declining at present. If these trends continue, it is likely that prices will decline in the near future.
Slovenia cultivates the most desirable species of the ethereal silver-green Helichrysum herbal plant, Helichrysum italicum, which is harvested from May to October. The dainty, sunny-yellow flower clusters of this evergreen shrub are steam-distilled to produce an essential oil that has a characteristically earthy and herbal fragrance. Crop conditions are currently optimal with no reported issues in cultivation. However, the Balkan region is currently experiencing increased labor costs, which is expected to have an impact on production.
This year's harvest yield is projected to be marginally lower, and demand levels have stabilized in the recent past. Prices have been steadily dropping in the last few years, but because of the poorer yield coupled with the levelling out of demand, it seems that prices have bottomed out and is likely to start increasing slowly in future months.
In Slovenia, the bluish-pink flowers of the perennial shrub Hyssop are harvested from July to August. The flowers are then steam-distilled to extract its fragrant, sweet-smelling oil. Current crop conditions are reported to be favorable with no major impacts on production, with the exception of rising labor costs within the Balkan region.
Hyssop Essential Oil still holds only a small share in the global market, and the product is enjoying stable pricing due to small and constant demand levels.
In India, the harvesting of carrot seeds takes place yearly during April. This biennial plant thrives at high elevations (above 1500 meters), provided there is plenty of irrigation. Growing conditions are reported to be favorable this year as well as extending to 2020, with the projected crop size being the same as that of last year. Pricing is also reported to be stable as market levels of demand and supply are currently balanced.
The aromatic leaves of the Chinese cinnamon tree in China are harvested during two crop seasons: the spring harvest is from May to July, while the Autumn harvest lasts from November to January. Current crop growing conditions are reported to be favorable. The projected harvest, however, is down due to recent price trends, and there has also been a reduction in demand.
The extent of this decline in demand will determine whether the price for Cassia Oil will lower further in the future.
In Indonesia, clove leaves are harvested predominantly in the dry season. An exceptionally good harvest is reported this year, and the production of Clove Leaf Oil is high due to the ample availability of clove leaves. Nevertheless, two main concerns persist in the market. First, prices for Clove Leaf oil have become remarkably low, acting as a major deterrent for distillers. Second, harsh and arid weather conditions have caused precious clove trees to unexpectedly shrivel up and die.
As Indonesia transitions into the rainy season, however, and harvesting ceases for clove leaves, prices for Clove Leaf Oil will steadily go up as existing stock is used up. Price drops are expected once again in the second quarter of 2020 with the beginning of the dry season.
In India, the harvest period for Anise Seeds runs from February to April. This willowy annual thrives in well-drained soil with plenty of sunlight and mild breezes. Although the crop size this year is equivalent to that of the previous year, challenges in future production are reported, mainly due to persistent reduced prices acting as a deterrent for farmers.
There is currently strong demand for Aniseed Essential Oil. With the carryover stock nearly over, prices are expected to rise with the recent inclining demand. Buyers are recommended to purchase this valued oil sooner rather than later.
In Bulgaria, the aromatic, mint-like leaves of the Melissa officinalis plant are harvested from June to July, and again from August to September. A number of issues have affected this year's harvest; ever-changing weather conditions with both excessive rain and droughts have resulted in a poor yield, and the current labor shortage in the Bulgarian agriculture sector is a further challenge jeopardizing production.
At present, demand is low, although it is reported that this may increase in the coming months due to lower prices.
In Italy, the sweet-smelling fruits of the Blood Orange tree, which houses its characteristic scarlet-colored flesh, are harvested from the end of February to the end of April. There are no reported issues with cultivation, with the climate in Sicily being mild and optimal for citrus production. Next year's projected crop size is slightly larger than 2019, but lower than 2017. Market demand for Blood Orange (Sicily) Oil is stable, however, due to the marginal increase in supply, it is likely to be less expensive in 2020.
In Sri Lanka, the fragrant inner bark of the Cinnamon tree is harvested biannually (May to August and October to December). The curled quills are dried, assorted, and undergo steam-distillation to extract its essential oil.
There is now robust demand for Cinnamon Bark oil over Cassia oil, owing to its popular spicy-sweet aroma and comparatively low levels of Coumarin. Relative to the conventional variety however, production of Organic Cinnamon Bark oil is currently limited due to a poorer harvest yield, and is likely to lead to higher prices in the coming months.
In China, the fruits of the lustrous, evergreen Anise Star tree are harvested during all four seasons, although the most prominent harvest operations start at the end of November and ends in January. Crop growing conditions are reported to be favorable, although the yield this year is comparatively lower to that of last year. Demand levels for this aromatic essential oil are steadily on the rise.
With the lower harvest yield expected this year, this additional increase in demand is likely to fuel price hikes.
In South India, pomegranates are harvested from October to February. This year, the harvest yield is projected to be comparable to that of last year. No significant changes are expected in terms of demand or pricing, and overall market conditions are stable.
In USA, soybean crops are harvested in September and the seeds undergo cold-pressing to produce this vegetable oil. The predicted harvest yield for soya beans seems to have taken on a downward trend over the past few months; as of this month, supply is projected to be at 3.55 billion bushels, with the soya bean oil price forecast at 31.0 cents per pound.
In Peru, the fruits of the perennial Sacha Inchi plant are harvested throughout the year. Also known as the 'Inca Nut' or 'Mountain Peanut', the fruit exists in the form of a star-shaped capsule of about 4-5 cm in diameter that houses brown, elongated seeds. The capsules are dried to extract the seeds and undergo cold-pressing to produce its oil.
The popularity and demand for Sacha Inchi Oil is steadily growing, especially in Asia. This is owing to better awareness of its nutritional benefits; the oil is a particularly rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. This year's projected harvest yield is comparable to last year, although prices are expected to be stable over the next six months. However, any further substantial increase in demand can result in increased prices.
In Mexico, Sesame seeds are harvested from October to December. Sesame plants typically need minimum daytime temperatures of 68°F to thrive, along with adequate (but not excessive) rainfall as it can lead to waterlogging. Currently, less than favorable weather conditions have led to a lower projected yield this year; along with relatively high levels of market demand for this carrier oil, prices are increasing, and will continue to do so if the challenges in crop production persist.