` Latest Data on Weak Spanish Harvest - Olive Oil Times

Latest Data on Weak Spanish Harvest

Mar. 27, 2013
Julie Butler

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Spain drib­bled out less than 49,000 tons of olive oil in February, about a third of its pro­duc­tion the same month last year and a fifth of that in the pre­vi­ous three years.

As it nears the end of its worst har­vest in a decade, the total pro­duc­tion for the five months since October was just 596,000 tons — 62 per­cent down on the same period last sea­son, accord­ing to the lat­est mar­ket report from Spain’s Olive Oil Agency (AAO).

About 3.2 mil­lion tons of table olives have been through the mill, with an aver­age yield of 18.26 per­cent, 2.74 points below last season.

Trade remains depressed, too, with exports down nearly a quar­ter on the same period last year and domes­tic sales slid­ing 17 per­cent to just 205,700 tons for this October to February.

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Exports up by half, stocks down a quarter

Figures for last month are still pro­vi­sional but show Spain has so far imported 40,400 tons of olive oil, up by half on the same period last season.

Its stocks at the end of February were esti­mated at 856,300 tons, which is 24 per­cent less than the aver­age for the last four seasons.

Outlook on prices, next harvest

The Spanish gov­ern­ment has been in talks with farmer unions in Spain over their calls for a res­cue pack­age for the olive oil sec­tor. Drought and late frost has cut yields dras­ti­cally this sea­son but low prices saw pro­duc­ers strug­gle even dur­ing the last three bumper harvests.

Farmgate prices have gained more than one euro since a recov­ery started mid-last year but despite much talk of the inevitabil­ity of fur­ther rises beyond €3/kg, the POOLred ex-mill ref­er­ence price at March 26 was €2.83/kg.

Meanwhie, heavy rain this month has increased the occur­rence of olive leaf spot, which could reduce olive pro­duc­tion next sea­son, warns Nicolás Chica, gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Granada branch of farmer union UPA.

And in Catalonia there are con­cerns about the con­se­quences of less aer­ial spray­ing for olive fly in the wake of gov­ern­ment fund­ing cuts.

Table olives

Since the start of the table olive sea­son in September, 482,310 tons have been har­vested, dip­ping 8 per­cent on last season.

Both exports and domes­tic sales have grown, by 12 and 4 per­cent respec­tively, and stocks at the end of February stood at 576,640 tons, a fall of 9 per­cent on last season.

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