Chart of the week: vanilla could soon be off the menu

Chart of vanilla prices

Your “artisanal vanilla ice cream” could be “under threat”, says the FT’s Emiko Terazono. Vanilla prices have rocketed to a record peak of more than $600 a kilo. A cyclone in March dented supplies from Madagascar, which accounts for half of world output. The storm accelerated an upswing caused by food manufacturers promising to use real vanilla rather than synthetic flavourings, while speculative hoarding by traders in Madagascar also raised prices. Vanilla pod producers are now frantically planting more, but it could be several years before prices subside to historical norms.

Viewpoint

“What a bloodbath the UK stockmarket was last week. Profit warnings from Provident, WPP and Dixons Carphone mean 2017 is shaping up to be a real rollercoaster for investors, after Serco, Carillion and Pearson served up some proper horrors earlier in the year. With the economy slowing… investors may fear a slew of others. Yet the reality is that most are the result of problems specific to individual companies. Dixons has been hit by changes in consumer behaviour, while WPP is a victim of the rise of the big online giants… Provident… was the architect of its own downfall [due to a] botched attempt to embrace technology. This isn’t part of any wider trend.”

Ben Marlow, The Sunday Telegraph