India is the largest producer and exporter of mentha oil and its derivatives. It exports exports 30,000 tonnes to China, US , Europe and South America. In April-September, India exported 18,000 tonnes, according to industry estimates. Exports picked up until October but slowed down after that because of the second wave of coronavirus and year-end holidays.
“The European and US markets will open in the first week of January and then we can expect new orders. Chinese buying will simultaneously pick up. We expect exports this year to be close to the previous year, ” Phool Prakash, President, UP Mentha Industry Association said. He said the value of exports would be lower as prices are down 20%.
Exporters said demand would come mostly from the confectionary and pharmaceutical sector.
“On an average 3,000 tonne of mentha oil products are being exported and we can easily touch the previous year export figures by next quarters. Companies like Mars Wrigley and Perfetti may increase the buying as global confectionary demand picks up. The optimism in the markets has also increased with vaccination shots being given, ” Vaibhav Agrawal, MD, Norex Flavours Private Limited a mentha oil exporter said.
Cold weather in US and Europe will boost sale of mentha oil which is used in cold-relief medicines, pain relief balms and oils, said Laxmi Narayan, MD, Aggarwal Export from Rampur.
“Heavy snowfall in US and Europe has raised our hopes of a pickup in demand of mentha oil by pharmaceutical companies. A long winter is beneficial for us and orders can come by February- March, ” he said.
The new crop will be harvested by June and hence big companies will place orders in the next quarter to fill in their requirement, said Manish Kumar Gupta of Barabanki Trading Company. “The domestic prices are also attractive compared to the previous year and buying is bound to increase by international and domestic companies, ” he said.
Domestic buyers like Emami, Patanjali and Hindustan Unilever may also increase buying oil derivative menthol from mint ingredient manufacturers, Gupta said.