Outlook for vitamins
Our bodies need vitamin B1 to stay fit, because so-called thiamine plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates. However, vitamin B1 can only be stored in the body short-term. Our partner Tianxin restarted production in early March and expects to be able to produce at full capacity once again in April. The prices for both types have risen sharply. B1 HCL currently stands at USD 40 and B1 mono at USD 35. Forecasts suggest shipments will be able to take place as usual again from early May.
Vitamin B3 is an important factor in energy metabolism and is found anywhere where there is a high level of metabolic activity. The prices for vitamin B3 have been rising continuously since Q4 2019. The main raw material (3-picoline) is produced primarily in China and has also become scarcer once again due to the corona situation. In addition, the lockdown in India means the major manufacturer Jubilant is currently not able to supply any goods. The companies Kunda and Lanbo in China are producing more or less as usual and are therefore able to ship goods without delay.
Vitamin B5 is essential for energy metabolism, the synthesis of neurotransmitters, preventing fatigue and for mental performance. It’s a real all-rounder! Since the beginning of 2019, the prices of this versatile vitamin have hovered at a level between USD 45 and USD 50. The two biggest manufacturers, Xinfu and Xinfa, don’t appear to want to start another price war right now, as was the case most recently in 2018 when the price fell from USD 40 to USD 10 in the space of two weeks. Production and supply is currently ongoing without any major problems.
Vitamin B6 is considered a versatile vitamin that strengthens not only human nerves, but also the body’s defense system. The price of this vitamin has risen only slightly since January from an initial price of USD 20 for feed and USD 22 for food grade. Because of the current situation, however, shipments of goods will not be possible until May. Given the several small manufacturers in China and the two major manufacturers Tianxin and Huazhong, vitamin B6 is relatively stable in price.
The beauty vitamin biotin, also known as vitamin B7 or vitamin H, not only helps maintain good skin, but also makes an important contribution to strong hair and nails. All manufacturers are offering the vitamin at prices starting from USD 2,500, but it is still relatively easy to obtain goods priced between USD 1,500 and USD 1,800 via brokers or traders in China, hence the European market has not yet accepted the manufacturers’ high prices. We expect prices to remain stable at the current price level during the first half of 2020.
Vitamin B12, which arises primarily in animal products, plays a role in blood formation and is important for various metabolic processes. There is relatively high excess capacity on the market. Since the last price rise to around USD 12,000/kg, several new manufacturers have taken up production, while many existing manufacturers have increased their capacities at the same time. The price is therefore stable at a very low level. The sole cost factor is the increased cost of air freight for manufacturers, which could lead to somewhat higher prices.
Chinese New Year and the spread of the coronavirus have caused a fall in production and existing stocks. This has resulted in a sharp increase in prices and an increased demand for vitamin C products worldwide. After the significant price increase up to a level of around EUR 5.00/kg, the market is now stubbornly clinging to this higher level. Manufacturers are completely booked out for the next one to two months and shipments of new orders will only be dispatched from China in June/July. The next few weeks will be crucial for further market and price development.
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Head of Sales Life Science
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