Market update

  • 28 November 2023 Open or Close

    During November prices of black and white pepper gradually increased. The price for farmgate BP now moves around 75000 VND per kg without much pepper being offered. Brazil prices also surged in sympathy with Vietnam prices and especially offers for sundried pepper are limited. To us it seems like a technical squeeze with short-sellers trying to cover for nearby positions. Too early yet to state that the trend changed to bullish. The upcoming Vietnam crop will be smaller around 175KMT but any real supply deficit will only become apparent during 2nd half 2024.

    Madagascar clove prices remain firm. Export licenses meantime have been issued by the government and first containers are about to be shipped. Good demand is keeping prices at a high level.

    Cardamom new crop prices seem to settle at higher levels. For MYQ we hear prices around USD 9/kg CF EMP, green 2P is quoted little below usd 20/kg.

    Nutmeg prices are slightly lower. Dry weather caused by ‘El Nino’ has been favourable to the ripening of the nuts resulting in a good crop.

    The upcoming India chilli crop seems promising. Turmeric prices though are likely to remain firm as the crop at its best will just be moderate.

    The US$ /EURO exchange rate came down with 3 % in favour of the EURO tempering SPOT prices.

  • 1 November 2023 Open or Close

    Pepper prices remain somewhat weak, but sentiment could change quickly. Brazil Para is suffering from severe drought while the south has experienced abundant rainfall. This will inevitably lead to a higher plant failure rate and yields falling in future years. Harvests in Vietnam will also be somewhat lower in coming years. Due to weak demand, a response has so far failed to materialise.

    Weak demand especially from China also negatively affects prices of other products. Enclosed an article that looks at this in a bit more depth.

    Madagascar clove prices remain firm. The new crop started but the trade eagerly awaits export licenses by the government in order to ship out goods. Good demand from India and Indonesia is keeping prices at a high level. 

    Cardamom prices have recovered strongly now that the upcoming harvest in Guatemala will be 20-30% lower due to drought.

    Due to the 'El Nino' drought in Central America the number of ships that can use the Panama canal daily is strongly reduced. The slowing world-economy is causing transshipment times to increase anyway. Uncertainties about the state of the economy, interest rates, ongoing conficts, climate change, etc cause companies in all sectors to reduce their stocks.

  • 20 September 2023 Open or Close

    Worldwide trade is slowing down, this week we were alerted by a freight agency about the following :

    Cancelled sailings trackers - Weekly analysis: 15.09.2023

    Across the major East-West headhaul trades: Transpacific, Transatlantic and Asia-North Europe & Med, 104 cancelled sailings have been announced between weeks 38 (18 Sep-24 Sep) and week 42 (16 Oct-22 Oct), out of a total of 665 scheduled sailings, representing 16% cancellation rate. During this period, 57% of the blank sailings will occur in the Transpacific Eastbound, 37% on Asia-North Europe and Med, and 7% on the Transatlantic Westbound trade. Over the next five weeks, OCEAN Alliance has announced 35 cancellations, followed by 2M and THE Alliance with 19 and 18 cancellations, respectively. During the same period, 32 blank sailings have been implemented in non-Alliance services. Against previous weeks we are seeing a significant decline in carrier service reliability. Over the next five weeks, on average, 84% of the ships are expected to sail as scheduled. In terms of ocean freight rates, Drewry’s Composite Freight Index resumed its downward trend this week, with a drop of 7% to $1,561. Weak peak season volumes and an oversupply of capacity on East-West trade routes have all contributed to the downward pressure rates. Despite a surge in blank sailings and reductions in vessel sizes, there have been few announcements of complete service withdrawals; downsizing operations alone may not be sufficient to reverse the recent fall in spot rates. Shippers and BCOs are advised to remain attentive, as these developments could potentially result in schedule disruption and delays in cargo movement. Source : Drewry WCI

    So possibly shipments can be delayed with an increased transshipment time !

    We see pepper prices continue to move sideways for the time being.

    China garlic prices seem to bounce back a little from their previous lows. Origin prices for granulate range from 2150 CIF for dark qualities to usd 2750 CIF for first quality. Corresponding spot EU prices range from EUR 2,75 up to 3,35/kg FCA

    Due to the earthquake in Morocco rosemary prices gained momentum.

  • 7 September 2023 Open or Close

    During the past 2 weeks, pepper prices moved sideways. Vietnam sold most of its crop but thanks to imports and carry-over from previous years, it still has pepper available. The crop outlook for 2024 seems good and buyers are reluctant to cover forward positions at premium prices. Unexpected demand possibly may cause a squeeze in Q4 with somewhat higher prices but once new Vietnam crops becomes available prices likely fall back to the current level.

    El Nino keeps influencing the weather worldwide.

    The south of Indonesia is suffering from unseasonal drought. This is good for the pending nutmeg crop that is in the ripening stage. Other crops like pepper, cloves and more importantly rice are negatively influenced by this. Other producing countries like India and Thailand also carry low rice inventories.

    Closer to home Turkey and especially Greece have been hit severely by storm ‘Daniel’.

    China garlic prices have come down with some 20 % since medio July. Price forming of this commodity is not just resulting from supply and demand. Speculation plays an important role. The USD exchange rate is gradually moving up …

  • 23 August 2023 Open or Close

    Black pepper prices are stable and we do not expect much change in Q3. We combined market information from different sources and made a small breakdown that we attach.


    The monsoons in south India (Kerala / Karnataka) were close to 60% short pushing up local cardamom prices. In October the return monsoons should hit South India and if those rains are good market may ease again.


    Guatemala also suffers from extreme weather conditions damaging plants. Crop will be somewhat smaller but we have to keep in mind that production in 2022 was extremely good with low prices and most buyers are well covered into 2024. The demand will be slow at the start of the season.


    The situation for pimento is more serious with hardly any carry-over stock. Prevailing high prices are likely to continue into the next season.


    Clove prices stay high with potential to rise further.


    Globally, extreme weather conditions continue to cause unrest and rising prices. Hopefully, we will see some relief when autumn arrives.


  • 8 August 2023 Open or Close

    Globally, weather conditions remain a source of concern. North India suffers from abundant rains and floods, while South India suffers from drought. Parts of Europe, China and North and South America also experience extreme weather conditions.

    In the past 2 weeks, pepper prices have risen by about 10%. This increase started in Brazil, where the harvest appears to be slightly smaller than initially assumed. Insufficient rainfall in southern India and Vietnam and concerns about the next harvest contributed to this rise.

    Clove prices continue to rise. It is said that the upcoming harvests in Comoros and Sri Lanka will be small. More importantly, the same is true for the harvest in Indonesia.

    Mustard seed and coriander seed prices from Eastern Europe have gradually declined and returned to normal. Growing conditions in both Canada and East Europe are normal.

    Caraway seed prices may rise somewhat further due to disappointing harvests combined with strong demand.

    Surprisingly, garlic prices from China have fallen 20% since June. It seems speculators no longer have an appetite for this commodity.

  • 25 July 2023 Open or Close

    This week the arrival of weather phenomenon ‘el Nino’ was officially confirmed by the world meteorological organization. Combined with climate change, the effects are becoming more clear every day. Southern Europe suffers from extremely high temperatures and drought while the Alps and Balkan countries suffer from extreme precipitation and floodings. Other countries across Europe also face abnormal conditions. Globally the situation is not much different .. 


    Needless to say, these extreme weather conditions will negatively affect crops worldwide, probably leading to higher food prices. Scarcity and rising prices attract speculators that normally are less active in food commodities. As if that were not enough, the criminal regime in Moscow has decided to further disrupt the global food supply chain by destructing the Ukrainian food export infrastructure. Altogether it seems we are heading for ‘a perfect storm’. 


    Pepper prices keep moving sideways. With Brazil new crop coming available we don’t anticipate big changes in the weeks to come. Possibly in Q4 the long-term trend becomes more clear and traders get active again.


    During the past 2-3 weeks caraway prices gained 30 % resulting from huge buying interest from Asia. Turmeric prices rose even more with a staggering 75 %. We agreed with a supplier that we live in a 'crazy world'.

  • 10 July 2023 Open or Close

    Pepper prices have fallen slightly further in recent weeks. Although Brazil prices  seem attractive, additional costs must be taken into account to make the pepper EU-compliant.  Only a few exporters are able to offer steam sterilised pepper. More sterilisation capacity will become available later this year and we will see a more level playing field for Vietnam and Brazil pepper. In Brazil, the crop will steadily increase in the coming years while in Vietnam a further decline is expected.

    The Indonesian new crop of cloves has been revised downwards. As a result, local prices have started to rise.  We understand that there is no more free stock  available in Madagascar and Comoros. The supply in 2023 will fall short with around 20,000 m/t and we therefore anticipate a firm market until the end of the year. The new crop in Madagascar will become available late 2023 and for now it looks promising and could be as big as 20,000 m/t. 

    Indian Fennel seed prices increased sharply during the past weeks. Unexpected big demand from China boosted prices. It has become clear that the harvest of this crop is  significantly less than previously expected.  Moreover, it is hard to find EU-compliant material. Prices for Egyptian fennel seed followed those of India.

    Also the market for Indian turmeric gained momentum with prices 20 % up.

    As mentioned earlier, we will face the El Nino phenomenon again this year. The global temperature for the month of June was the highest ever recorded. Extreme weather conditions will likely affect crops worldwide. 

  • 21 June 2023 Open or Close

    Prices for black pepper from Vietnam are somewhat weak now that demand from China slowed down. Europe and the US are waiting for the new crop from Brazil to hit the market. We should see a good flow of pepper from Esperito Santo in July. 

    Prices for cloves remain high, but prices for nutmeg and mace seem slightly lower. We understand that the quality of the nutmeg crop is good, resulting in a higher percentage of SS and ABCD and less availability of brokens. 

    India is the world's largest producer of a range of spices such as :
    > Cumin seeds (+/- 80%)
    > Chillies (+/- 40%)
    > Coriander seeds (+/- 70%)
    > Turmeric (+/- 80%)
    > Fenugreek (+/- 85 %)
    > Fennel seeds (+/- 70%)
    > Celery seed (+/- 90%)

    The market situation of cumin is exceptional this year, we have covered this in previous market updates. Prices for turmeric, fenugreek, fennel and chillies are also rising despite good crops. Domestic demand is huge, far exceeding the share of exports. The percentage of the crop that meets EU standards is just small and higher prices have to be paid for it. With the further increase in India's population in the coming years (to an estimated 1.75 billion!), we foresee continued difficult market conditions.

    Egypt and Maroc are the worlds’ largest producers of marjoram, basil, thyme and rosemary. The population in these countries is also rapidly increasing. Apart from that there are water availability issues. Sourcing EU compliant herbs at a decent price from these origins is challenging too.

  • 7 June 2023 Open or Close

    We are currently seeing somewhat weak demand. High inflation has pushed up interest rates and, to reduce financing costs, companies are bringing down inventories. Also the cost of transportation and the shipping time have normalised, so there is no longer a need to hold larger inventories.

    Black pepper prices are moving sideways within a small range. Now that the new crop of Brazil is becoming available, we expect few changes in the coming months.

    Dried garlic prices also seem to flatten somewhat after the earlier sharp rise.

    Clove prices have jumped. It seems Indonesia has insufficient supplies and will have to import for its kretek industry.

    Cumin seed prices remain extremely high and EU compliant material is difficult to find. Syria reportedly has a decent harvest of around 25,000 m/t, but is struggling to meet the MRLs for PA and pesticides. Indian prices for standard material without guarantees are around USD 6000/t CIF Europe, IPM material prices are at least 20% higher.

    Mustard seed prices gradually coming down as new harvest approaches.

  • 23 May 2023 Open or Close

    After the sharp rise in April and the first half of May, pepper prices seem to have calmed down for now. The pepper trade is eagerly awaiting the new harvest in Brazil, which starts in June.

    Prices of cassia and nutmeg move sideways. Clove prices are firm and may move up somewhat further in the coming months.

    The latest crop reports from India mention a significant smaller crop of cumin seed. The same goes for fenugreek and turmeric prices of which also are firming. This is in contrast to the harvests of chilli and coriander seeds which are larger than last year. Finding chilli products suitable for the European market remains a challenge. Pesticide use by Indian farmers remains invariably high.  

    The harvest of onions in Gujarat is coming to an end. Unseasonal rains early May have somewhat reduced the crop size so we are seeing firmer prices here too.

    Same like pepper garlic prices also have stabilised at a higher level.China new crop garlic will be around 10 % higher than in 2022 but prices for fresh garlic bulbs are 2.5 times higher. Therefore little garlic will be used for dehydration. Nevertheless there is a huge stock of dehydrated garlic flakes of previous years that slowly will be processed and find its way to the markets.

    Major political issues are still present and may influence (stock)markets and exchange rates negatively.

  • 5 May 2023 Open or Close

    Vietnam pepper prices gained momentum and increased with around 10% during the past 2 weeks. Continued buying from China is supporting the higher levels. Whether this is structural or speculative leaves to be seen. The upcoming Brazil crop (Espírito Santo) that will start in May for sure will give some relief and will be a good test of the current market level.


    The increase of dehydrated garlic prices accelerated in the past week. Origin prices are now a staggering 50% higher than at the start of 2023.


    The market is anxiously awaiting the new fennel seed crop from Egypt. We understand that a good crop is anticipated but demand is huge and it is unlikely that prices will come down short term.


    Last week, we briefly mentioned "El Niño". Europe is not directly affected by this phenomenon but also faces weather / climate issues. In recent years summers especially in South West Europe have been extremely hot and dry. This year, the situation is even more worrying with water shortage presenting themselves already early spring. The situation in Maroc is not much different.


    Food supply is used by some regimes as a political means and is attracting more attention from speculators thus further increases prices...

  • 21 April 2023 Open or Close

    Black pepper prices slowly move somewhat higher. According to the Vietnam Pepper Association, the farm price of black pepper is currently around 66,000 Dong/kg. Vietnam's harvest is largely complete and will reach 200,000 tonnes. Global black pepper supply will slightly exceed demand by 2023.  In subsequent years, however, supply is expected to decline slightly. Combined with gradually increasing demand, this will certainly lead to higher prices.


    In recent years, the world has experienced 'la Niña'. A weather phenomenon that occurs around the equator in the Pacific Ocean and strongly affects weather conditions (precipitation and temperature) worldwide. The same goes for "el Niño" that will affect the weather pattern for several years starting 2023. This could have a major impact on food production in affected areas and is something that needs to be taken into account.

    (for more information see :  


    Cumin prices remain extremely firm and prices moved up with over 30% in just a month. Especially IPM cumin seems in short supply.


    There seems to be no end in sight to the rise in the price of dried garlic. This rise is fueled by speculation.

  • 5 April 2023 Open or Close

    Pepper prices came down somewhat since medio March. There could be several reasons for this, the main one being good availability. The Ramadan and a good expected crop in Brazil certainly also play a role. Prices are still some 10 per cent above the lowest level earlier this year but, combined with the weak dollar, the price in € seems interesting....

    Clove prices are lingering a bit and not (yet) doing what major traders predicted. However, this could still happen. Madagascar is largely sold out, limiting supply in the second quarter.

    During the 2nd half of March, we saw garlic prices from China rise by about 10 per cent. This increase is caused by speculation. The expected garlic crop looks good, but the carry-over is somewhat smaller than in previous years.

    Dried onion prices from India are also moving up slightly. The harvest is almost over and, on balance, looks fractionally smaller than last year.

    The global political and economic situation remains unstable. There seems to be no end to the war in Ukraine for the time being. The risk of disruptions in energy and food markets remains.

    The dollar remains weak and the exchange rate of the € against the US$ now stands at 1.095 making prices attractive (and helping to reduce inflation somewhat).

  • 22 March 2023 Open or Close

    The pepper harvest in Vietnam is in full swing. Pepper exports are expected to be around 85,000 m/t during the first three months of 2023. Global demand is good, but may level off temporarily with the Ramadan period ahead. So far in 2023 price increases each time were followed by small corrections. On balance, prices are rising slowly. Current origin prices are about US$ 500/t above the lows earlier this year. Brazil is offering pepper at parity with Vietnam but has little pepper to offer at the moment. The new harvest in Esperito Santo starting in May will be a good test for the market. 

    The new harvest of a number of Indian products also started. The crops of turmeric, fennel seed, coriander and mustard seed looks good. The cumin seed crop will be slightly smaller than initially expected due to the early summer start with high temperatures. Cumin plants sown later suffer the most. A total crop of 380K m/t is expected, which is better than last year, but still below normal. Prices are expected to continue to rise and it remains very difficult to get EU-compliant material. The fenugreek seed crop will also be lower than in previous years and prices are expected to rise slowly during 2023. 

    The exchange rate of the € against the US$  stands at 1.075. In the past weeks the banking sustem was tested by the sudden bankruptcy of the Silicon Valley Bank. This contributed to the weakening of the US$.

  • 6 March 2023 Open or Close

    Black pepper prices from Vietnam peaked in mid-February, but then fell again due to a good supply of new crop. The harvest is now in full swing with about 40% of the crop completed. China covered part of its demand, but slowed its purchases now that the exchange rate between the dollar and the yuan is somewhat firmer. Prices fell 6-7%, but picked up again in recent days. Although prices are currently 10% higher than the lows of late January, we still find them attractive.

    Clove prices move sideways. A possible shortage will become apparent during the course of this year and if that is the case, prices may rise a bit further.

    Cardamom prices increased sharply in recent weeks. The Guatemala harvest is good and exporters have anticipated this by issuing low prices. Farmers are very reluctant to go along with this, forcing exporters to pay higher prices resulting in an upward price spiral. MYQ prices in particular have risen sharply.

    Garlic prices in China are slowly increasing.

    Globally, there are invariably issues at play that can disrupt markets. The ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine and the resulting high inflation have severely affected the purchasing power of many people and countries. Demand for pepper from countries like Egypt and Pakistan is under pressure as a result.

    The exchange rate of the € against the US$ shortly peaked at 1.10 but came down afterwards and is listed today at 1.065

  • 8 February 2023 Open or Close

    The new year kick-started with a very active January month but slowed down a little at the start of February. Buyers are looking for lower prices but origin markets seem to move in the opposite direction.

    Vietnam black pepper prices bounced back from their previous lows. The crop is in progress but farmers complain about the low prices causing losses at their side. There is lack of workforce to do the harvesting resulting in higher labour costs. Also prices of fertilizer have increased sharply.

    The demographic situation in China is worry-some. It's population is ageing and will shrink sharply in the coming decades. This combined with political tensions is causing more industries to choose Vietnam as a production location, increasing pressure on the already strained labour market.

    The availability of EU compliant cumin-seed remains tight. There are lots of enquiries but buyers are very hesitant to pay the current high prices. The size of the upcoming India crop is estimated at only 50 % of the normal crop-size and we therefore see little ground for lower prices.

    The Indian onion crop is picking up steam with good quantities fresh onion coming to the market daily. As both domestic and overseas demand is good prices remain firm.

    In recent weeks prices for cardamom recovered to some extent. Especially the price of MYQ moved up sharply.

    The exchange rate of the € against the US$ shortly peaked at 1.10 but came down afterwards and is listed today at 1.075

  • 25 January 2023 Open or Close

    Over the past few weeks, we have received pepper reports from various sources. Most of these mention good crops and a sideways moving market. This will likely to be the case, although there are some issues that could make a difference. In recent weeks, there were abundant rains in southern Brazil that caused floods. Part of the pepper plantations in Esperito Santo and Bahia have been affected and the pepper crop will therefore be smaller. Instead of 120K tonnes, the 2023 Brazilian crop is more likely to be only about 100K tonnes. This has pushed up Brazilian prices, making Vietnam currently the cheapest origin. Now that China has aborted all corona measures, pepper imports are likely to return to pre-corona levels. This also could fuel the market somewhat.

    Clove prices are rising. Indonesia's crop was disappointing for the second year in a row. The new crop of cloves from Madagascar and Comoros has largely been committed and the world might be in short supply until the new Indonesian harvest starting in June.

    Prices for cumin seeds from India are sky-high and are expected to rise further as a small new crop is anticipated. Fennel seed prices also firm up rapidly.

    We understand that Sudan, the world's largest producer of sesame seeds, and some other African producing countries are facing difficulties in fulfilling export contracts, causing prices of this commodity to rise.

    With the EU's food legislation becoming increasingly stringent, finding compliant goods sold at reasonable prices is becoming a real challenge. With the US now also adopting stricter rules, it is becoming even more difficult.

    EUR - USD exchange rate hovers around 1.09 Whether the US Congress will reach an agreement on the government debt limit remains to be seen. This could push the exchange rate further in favour of the €.

    The situation in Ukraine remains highly problematic and creates great uncertainty in all future (market) scenarios.

  • 20 December 2022 Open or Close

    With the holidays just around the corner, we herewith send you our final market / news update of the year.

    2022 will go down in the books as the year of the Ukraine war, with extremely tense political relations between the West and Russia as well as between the West and China.

    The above conflict and after-effects of the Covid pandemic contributed greatly to a stagnating global economy. Sharply higher energy prices gave a huge boost to already rising inflation. To curb it, central banks were forced to raise interest rates sharply. Consumer spending came under pressure as a result which led to rising inventories for a wide range of products. This in turn created additional demand for storage capacity and higher storage costs.

    Weak consumption and falling transport demand caused freight rates from Asia to drop by more than 75% to pre-corona levels.

    Regardless of the above, environmental issues and climate change remain a source of great concern.

    The said war and Covid lockdowns in China also caused a lower pepper consumption resulting in falling prices. Stocks carried forward at the end of 2022 are marginally higher than at the end of 2021. In a normal situation, stocks would have been lower by at least 25%, which would have pushed prices up during the year ...

    We fear that international tensions will continue in 2023 and stand in the way of a swift economic recovery. We therefore anticipate another challenging (difficult) year. Hopefully we are wrong …

    Having said all this, we would like to thank you for the cooperation and your support during the past year. We wish you a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and successful 2023 !

  • 5 December 2022 Open or Close

    Over all prices remain somewhat weak due to ongoing economic uncertainties.

    Pepper prices reached their lowest point of 2022 but seem to bounce back a little in recent days. We anticipate a good year-end carry over and kind of stable prices for the coming months. Possibly we will see prices dip in the 2nd quarter of  2023. It all depends on how good the Vietnam crop will be.

    There are some rumours in the market about Indian cumin seeds crop-fails which should lead to higher prices. It’s unclear whether the chatter is correct as other sources report that significantly more cumin has been planted during the past year. The new crop will be available for shipment from origin March onwards.

    Freight rates for several routes dropped back to pre-Covid levels following the decrease in demand for transport. 

    The EURO gained positive momentum in recent weeks and the EUR/ USD exchange rate now stands at 1.055 which is 10 % higher than late September!



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