The recent crop estimate reports out of India have caused a great deal of concern and turbulence in the Menthol market with mint oil prices surging on the back of plummeting supplies and very strong global demand.
In the last month, spot mentha oil and peppermint oil prices have increased strongly because of a downward revision of the 2011 crop size in India from 45,000 mt oil to 35,000 mt oil - a nearly 23% decrease.
This sharp downward revision was caused by the early arrival of heavy monsoon rains at the end of June of 2011 which have continued into September, and have caused significant damage to the second cut and direct damage to the overall crop size (via reduced yields during distillation)
Meteorologists in India are expressing concerns that changing weather patterns in India could continue through 2011 and into late 2012, thus causing continued heavy rains and flooding which could further adversely impact mint production in India for the foreseeable future.
On a related note, as more summer rains have been occurring in the agricultural and mint growing valleys of India, winter snowfall has been declining in the Himalayas of India and Nepal. The satellite data, according to a new study, suggests a troubling combination of dry winters and wet summers in India, which could have long term devastating impacts to the production of various agricultural and horticultural crops (such as mint) in key parts of India.