Bulgaria is home to the largest growing area in the world for lavender oil, producing each year between 100 MT-130 MT (depending mainly on climatic conditions).
Distilled from the plant flower spikes, lavender oil is one of the world's most traditional essential oils frequently used in fragrances and aromatherapy, despite little evidence proving its therapeutic values.
Ultra International B.V. offers the highest grade of Bulgarian lavender oil which boasts a lavandulyl acetate content on average around 4% (industry average is 2%). To achieve this we hand select the plants from certain growing partners in Bulgaria to ensure we are able to offer our clients this premium oil each season.
Harvesting usually begins during the first two weeks of July and the season lasts around 2 weeks.
It has been well documented and it’s well known to us now that 2017 was a challenging year for the global lavender markets, no more so than for the Bulgarians.
Prior to 2017, it had felt like the Bulgarians could do no wrong as year-on-year investments and production growth supported the increased demand throughout the market. You could even be forgiven for assuming that Bulgaria’s production rate could grow quicker than demand but as with many sentiments this couldn’t have been further away from reality!
Demand rose beyond everyone’s expectation, fuelled by the booming growth of the aromatherapy sector. Then at a critical point Bulgarian production had its first major setback in years. Many had been predicting further growth in 2017 production, which had already grown significantly over the past 3 years. Predictions varied, but something close to 350 MT was reasonable to predict – a growth of 70MT on 2016. However, poor climatic conditions led to some very low yields in certain parts of the country and total output fell close to 220 MT – a 60 MT fall on 2016. More to the point, it was 130 MT on what had been expected – a figure that would have been close to the market requirement needed to meet continued growing demand.
The net impact was obvious and only at the end of 2017 have we seen speculation slow down as many hope to have secured what they need for the first half of 2018. There are many predicting that the price rises will start again in the Spring as it’s unlikely that there’s enough oil in the pipeline to see us through to the next harvest. By Spring we will also know how the 2018 crops are looking and this news will influence what happens to the price before the new season begins from late June 2018.
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