As recently as six weeks ago, prices of Vanilla (Madagascar’s biggest export) continued to rise on the back of a greatly reduced supply and continuing buoyant demand. The price explosion led to wholesale thefts of Vanilla from plantations and as a result, some farmers are picking pods prematurely.
We have seen early signs that prices are beginning to trend downwards - After all, what goes violently up (as Madagascan Vanilla prices have done so this year), must also come down...
So what is behind this change of sentiment?
The origins of the wholesale rise in prices over the last few months centered around the impact of cyclone Enawo, which was considered sufficiently brutal to have knocked out the bulk of the 2016-2017 crop. It seems however, that the impact of the cyclone was not as disastrous as first thought. It is further believed that, whilst there are plenty of green, immature beans, the percentage that these represent is no more than 25-28% of the total Madagascan crop.
It is still early days of course, but it seems that it is possible that the 2017-2018 Madagascan Vanilla crop will possibly amount to 1,500 Metric Tons, with higher grade extraction being undertaken by early November, and the premium black Vanilla crop two months later. A contrary factor however, is that alternative crops from other origins (Papua New Guinea for example), are still eagerly awaited by the market, but these are likely to be small (in terms of quantity) and will not be harvested until at least 2018. Therefore, Madagascar’s predominant position in the international Vanilla market will continue for some time to come.
Madagascan sellers will still want to take advantage of current high prices, however, it remains true that the dynamics of the Madagascan Vanilla market looks set to change... FDL will continue to watch this market closely and will advise customers and buyers of any further changes to sentiment or price. But overall, the message to take home on the Vanilla front is this: Vanilla remains a very volatile, and dangerous market and customers should continue to cover their requirements.
For more information about Vanilla, or if you have any vanilla requirements or are struggling to get stock, please don't hesitate to get in touch directly on : Tel: +44 (0) 20 7488 0777