Citronella oil is extracted from a grass (Cymbopogon winteranus) native to Sri Lanka, Java (Indonesia) and China. The species Cymbopogon winteranus is used for the production of citronella oil by steam distillation.
Citronella is commonly used in soaps, candles, perfumes and other products in the cosmetic industry. It is also a plant based, non-toxic insect repellant, registered for this use in the United States since 1948. You will find it listed in many topical products.
As a perfumery ingredient it has been historically well represented due to its citronellal, citronellol and geraniol content.
China is the world's largest exporter of citronella oil (Indonesia being second). It is estimated that total world production of citronella is around 4,000 tons with China and Indonesia representing a 40% share of this volume.
Historically China has had a lower cost basis for this product and as a result is the dominant producer.
Based on unconfirmed data China's citronella exports can be summarised as follows:
China’s price rose last year as the production declined from 2,300 MT to 1,500 MT as a result of inclement weather. With the lack of stock and active demand, prices are firming up. New oil will be available by the end of April at the earliest.
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