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 global market this year has been firm as the two major suppliers, China and Indonesia, have both experienced higher than average rainfall and lower than average production. China’s output last year dropped from 2,300 MT to 1,500 MT as a result of the inclement conditions and has faired no better this year, with the season ending in October.
In a similar story to Indonesia, rains in Yunnan Province have impacted yields and with all major global growing areas suffering simultaneously the pressure is firmly on this essential oil.
The lack of stocks at this time of the year is of real concern so expect prices to remain firm for the foreseeable future.
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