Peppermint oil is extracted by steam distillation from the dried herb of Mentha piperita. The plant is native to Europe but is now cultivated in many parts of the world. The largest producers are America, China and India, with India producing around 600-700MT per annum (2014/15).
It grows in the traditional 'Mint Regions' of India, which are the north and north west areas of the country.
India's piperita exports in 2014 were approximately 400MT with Europe seen as the biggest buyer (France and UK totalling 43%) whilst the USA took 30% of India's exports.
Peppermint has a wide variety of uses across many sectors but is most commonly seen in products such as teas, candy, chocolate, aromatherapy, oral care, chewing gums and insect repellents.
Peppermint is also known for its health benefits including the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive complaints.
At present, the India peppermint oil market commands stable prices for pure material. Availability though is somewhat limited. With the current pricing levels, rates are at par with those of farm level peppermint oil prices in the USA. Naturally the export of Indian mint to the USA is rather discouraging. However, exports to China are robust due to duty differentials and moderate demand. Indian exports will be helped by the imposition Chinese duties on US imports as part of the on-going USChina tariff war. Europe still continues to be the biggest importer of Indian peppermint oil. Current circumstances point towards a favourable crop for 2019. However, further clarity on root holding and new plantations will be available in December. There is an influx of synthetic peppermint in the market; an early booking for requirements makes sense. Carryover is expected to be good.
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