The Department of Agriculture has lowered its monthly projection for the 2015-16 Florida crop from 80 million boxes of Valencia and non-Valencia to 74 million boxes. This puts the total at 75% of last year’s already smaller than usual crop. As reports from Brazil continue to reduce crop estimates, there are currently no offers from major Brazilian processors. Prices continue to firm and there are expectations that they will rise beyond historical highs.
Reports from October of off demand and softening prices for both ingredients conflict with previous reports of low volumes and higher costs for producers. The Spice Market reports that prices for Anise seeds are rising, suggesting a diminished crop and the prospect of rising prices for both Oil and Natural Anethole.
Prices for Natural Menthol are weak. This trend will likely continue as both Indian and Chinese producers are offering Synthetic Menthol. Eventually, Cornmint Dementholized prices will have to rise to cover costs. If demand for Natural Menthol remains low, how much Cornmint will be planted in the future?
With new Oil entering the market, we hope to see quality issues on Eucalyptus Oil begin to diminish. With this influx we have seen a slight softening in pricing from origin. Historically, this softening continues through February but the last two years have deviated from that trend with rising prices. Eucalyptol continues to follow the price for Eucalyptus Oil.
Prices for Vanillin remain low in line with the price of Petroleum. On Thursday, November 12th, Hershey announced that their Chocolate Kisses and Chocolate bars for the holiday season will not contain any artificial ingredients. A formula change of this magnitude would likely require months of testing and sourcing a replacement for Vanillin. What effect this will have on the Vanillin market will have to wait until after the holiday season. If sales are successful, will Hershey abandon Synthetic Vanillin in all of their product lines? Will Nestle follow? What will happen to demand pricing for Vanilla extracts ex Vanilla Beans; Vanilla ex Turmeric, and Vanillin ex Ferulic Acid?
We have reports that prices for Vanilla Beans have increased tenfold. Prices for Vanilla Absolute have reflected this, with dramatic increases. One dealer has advised the demand for Vanilla Beans has expanded exponentially. While bad weather, smuggling of beans out of Madagascar, and increased labor costs might play a role, might this not be the effect of changing to Natural from Synthetic?
As pollution controls in China continue to take their toll, we continue to see price increases and quality issues. Pollution controls to mask odor are expensive as waste must be allowed to degrade into fertilizer on land which must be rented for five years. At some point pricing might make it difficult to sustain use in formulation.
Currently, most Oil that is not tied to a contract has been sold or is high priced. Prices from dealers have risen and only limited quantities are available.
A Spice Trade Journal has advised that the Indian crop due in January 2016 may suffer a 20% shortfall due to erratic rain. A similar prediction has been made for the Indonesian market though Vietnam and Cambodia may cover this shortfall. Expectations are that prices for Oil will increase.
The spice industry reports that the upcoming Chinese Ginger harvest in December and January will be quite large. Cited is the pressure to sell stocks of fresh. Since demand for fresh in China consumes the largest percentage of total production, this would support that belief. Prices are expected to soften.
Drought conditions in Jamaica have kept the 2015 crop small for the second consecutive year. 2015’s prices have been firm and change is not expected until the new crop in late Spring and early Summer.
A short crop and unusually high demand has driven up prices for Chamomile Oil Roman. Traditional suppliers have exhausted stocks and it appears any available material is being offered by dealers at a very high premium.
Reports of off demand and soft prices for Gum Resin from China are in line with a 50-100 RMB drop in market prices we saw the week of November 7th. Producers are holding off on further reductions in the case that counter offers are not accepted. Tree tapping will reportedly continue until the end of November, which may force derivative producers to accept market pricing. This, in turn, may increase costs for IBA, Camphor USP, Terpinyl Acetate, and other derivatives. The Turpentine market requires close attention.