Citronella oil is extracted from a grass (Cymbopogon winteranus) native to Sri Lanka, Java (Indonesia) and China. The species Cymbopogon winteranus is used for the production of citronella oil by steam distillation.
Citronella is commonly used in soaps, candles, perfumes and other products in the cosmetic industry. It is also a plant based, non-toxic insect repellant, registered for this use in the United States since 1948. You will find it listed in many topical products.
As a perfumery ingredient it has been historically well represented due to its citronellal, citronellol and geraniol content.
China is the world's largest exporter of citronella oil (Indonesia being second). It is estimated that total world production of citronella is around 4,000 tons with China and Indonesia representing a 40% share of this volume.
Historically China has had a lower cost basis for this product and as a result is the dominant producer.
Based on unconfirmed data China's citronella exports can be summarised as follows:
The production of Chinese citronella oil in the peak years was around 1,000 MT. This year, the volumes have plummeted to around 300 to 400 MT, mainly due to too much rain. The crop season is nearing completion, yet availability is limited. Some farmers are holding carryover stocks; though their offers are high. Chinese citronella prices are increasing at a fast rate and currently are at almost the same levels as Indonesian prices.
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