`U.S. Olive Oil Imports Continue Steady Climb - Olive Oil Times

U.S. Olive Oil Imports Continue Steady Climb

Nov. 9, 2012
Julie Butler

Recent News

Olive oil and olive pomace oil imports into the United States are still steadily climb­ing, achiev­ing 7 per­cent growth over last year, the lat­est International Olive Council (IOC) fig­ures show.

They totaled 290,227 tons for the first 11 months of the 2011/12 sea­son) and are expected to top 300,000 tons once the September fig­ures are in, accord­ing to the IOC’s October mar­ket newslet­ter.

Italy remains the lead­ing sup­plier, with 143,656 tons and up 4 per­cent. Spain fol­lows with 84,371 tons but greater growth, 35 per­cent, sea­son-on-sea­son.

Next is Tunisia, 30,308 tons (+24 per­cent), Argentina with 8,997 tons (+33 per­cent) and Greece with 5,222 tons (+30 per­cent).

Nearly two-thirds of all imports were vir­gin grade, 30 per­cent were olive oil and 5 per­cent olive pomace oil.

Chinese mar­ket smaller but grow­ing faster

China out­stripped fore­casts to import nearly 45,968 tons of olive oil and olive pomace oil in 2010/11, the IOC also reported.

It may not reach even a sixth of US imports but this mar­ket has seen spec­tac­u­lar growth of 38 per­cent on the pre­vi­ous year.


Spain was the top source with 26,885 tons, account­ing for 60 per­cent of total Chinese olive oil imports and more than dou­ble rival Italy’s 10,729 tons. Greece fol­lows with 2,720 tons and Tunisia with 1,115 tons.

The vast major­ity — 84 per­cent — of Chinese imports was vir­gin grade, 5 per­cent was olive oil and 11 per­cent olive pomace oil.

Spanish exports also up in Australia, Japan, Brazil, Russia

The world’s top pro­ducer and exporter, Spain saw its sales to non-European Union coun­tries climb by a fourth in the first 11 months of 2011/12. Its record har­vest trans­lated into higher exports into all six of its top non-EU des­ti­na­tions: the U.S., China, Australia, Japan, Brazil, Russia.

Overall world mar­ket 2011/12 crop year

The IOC reports total imports for October to August are up 13 per­cent into Russia, 18 per­cent into Japan, and 14 per­cent into Brazil, but still down into Canada and Australia, with declines of 4 and 3 per­cent respec­tively.

Imports into the EU are up 12 per­cent sea­son-on-sea­son, which the IOC says prob­a­bly reflects some oper­a­tors’ expec­ta­tions of a poor har­vest (in Spain) in 2012/13.”

Proof of Spain’s pric­ing impact

Producer prices for extra vir­gin olive oil in Italy and Greece have now reflected the rise that occurred in Spain start­ing in late June.

In Italy, they’ve risen over the last two months, climb­ing from €2.38/kg in the first week of August to end October at €2.84/kg, com­pared to €2.48/kg for Spain.

And over three months in Greece they’ve risen 13 per­cent, from €1.82/kg in late July to €2.21/kg in late October.

While they have taken longer to mate­ri­al­ize in Italy and Greece, these rises show the influ­ence of prices in Spain, the world’s fore­most pro­ducer, despite the prospects of a good 2012/13 har­vest in the first two coun­tries, Greece par­tic­u­larly” the IOC said.

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