`Imports Exceed Output in First Month of Spanish Olive Oil Harvest - Olive Oil Times

Imports Exceed Output in First Month of Spanish Olive Oil Harvest

Dec. 3, 2012
Julie Butler

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Spain imported more olive oil than it made in October, the first month of the cur­rent sea­son, a mar­ket report from Spain’s Olive Oil Agency shows.

A total of 6,200 tons of olive oil was pro­duced, just one third of that for the same month last year but nearly equal to October 2010/11.

Meanwhile, Spain’s olive oil imports for October pro­vi­sion­ally total 6500 tons, up from 2300 in October last year and 700 in 2011, and above the monthly aver­ages of 4980 for 2011/12 and 3600 for 2010/11.

The fig­ures come amid a fore­cast by major Spanish olive oil orga­ni­za­tion Infaoliva — based on expected out­put of just over 625,300 tons in 2012/13 — that Spain will fall about 200,000 tons short of its com­bined for­eign and domes­tic demand this sea­son, with con­se­quent upward pres­sure on prices.

Yield down slightly

About 46,500 tons of olives were processed in October in Spain, where the har­vest to date has been slowed by rain and is yet to get under­way in all parts of the coun­try. The aver­age yield so far is 13.1 per­cent, 2.4 per­cent­age points lower than last sea­son, the AAO said.

Exports and domes­tic demand

Olive oil sales in October totaled 112,100 tons which while down six per­cent on last year was up 5 per­cent on the aver­age for the last four years.

Provisional fig­ures put the month’s exports at 75,000 tons, down 9 per­cent on 2011’s 82,800 tons and also down on 79,300 in 2010, but nev­er­the­less up 8 per­cent on the aver­age for the last four sea­sons.

Just over 37,000 tons were sold on the domes­tic mar­ket in October, a rise of 1 per­cent on last year and equal to the aver­age for the last four sea­sons, but down from 40,400 tons in October 2010.

Olive oil stocks

Spain ended October with stocks of 591,600 tons, loom­ing 95 per­cent above the aver­age for the last four sea­sons and well above its 375,500 the same time last year.

About 415,400 tons are in olive mills; 176,200 in bot­tling, refin­ing and other plants; and another 99,500 — of vir­gin and extra vir­gin — are off the mar­ket as part of European Union pri­vate stor­age mar­ket inter­ven­tion.

Table olives

Just over 406,800 tons of table olives have been pro­duced, down 16 per­cent on October last year.

Exports are up a fifth on last year, with 94,350 tons sold in October, 56,910 in exports and 37,440 in the domes­tic mar­ket. Table olive stocks at the end of October totaled 653,310 tons, down 15 per­cent on the same time last year.

Bulk prices down despite poor har­vest prospects

Notwithstanding the reduced pro­duc­tion, ex-mill olive oil prices went down again in the last week of November.

Spain’s olive oil price infor­ma­tion sys­tem POOLred shows an aver­age weighted price on November 30 of the equiv­a­lent of nearly €2.33/kg, down from nearly €2.41/kg in mid-November but still well up from €1.87per kg in late July, around the time prices started to rise after a long period at low lev­els.

According to the Olimerca online mag­a­zine, ex-mill vir­gin oils are cur­rently avail­able from the equiv­a­lent of about €2.25/kg. Better prices have been observed for new extra vir­gins, at about €2.46/kg, while no buyer would pay more than €2.34/kg for older extra vir­gin oils from Jaén. However, over­all the the sit­u­a­tion for the last 6 – 7 weeks has been marked by scarce sales to bot­tlers and refiner­ies, it said.

Perplexity over mar­ket dynam­ics

Those involved in the olive oil mar­ket con­cur in not under­stand­ing what is hap­pen­ing within it at the moment, given the con­text of the much smaller har­vest expected this sea­son, the mag­a­zine said.

Unless the pres­sure of the high level of stocks in the mills (415,000 tons) and the need for liq­uid­ity is forc­ing com­pa­nies to sell what­ever way they can to free up silo space for the arrival of new oils.”

Olimerca also noted that Italy, usu­ally one of the main buy­ers of bulk oil from Spain, had in the last month bought very lit­tle, because it is sourc­ing Greek oil at a bet­ter price.”

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