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Slowdown in North American Olive Oil Imports

Sep. 9, 2013
Julie Butler

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Olive oil imports into the cru­cial North American mar­ket have slipped slightly from last sea­son, accord­ing to the lat­est newslet­ter from the International Olive Council.

Imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil for October 2012 to June 2013 are down 1 per­cent for the United States and 3 per­cent for Canada on the same period the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

The IOC fig­ures show that in these first nine months of the 2012/13 sea­son, the U.S. imported just under 230,000 tons, down by nearly 1,900 tons on the same period last sea­son.

The biggest drop-off was reg­is­tered in May, when the coun­try took more than 9,000 tons less than its May 2012 total of 28,958 tons, off­set­ting a rise of 7,500 tons last October.

In its February newslet­ter, the IOC reported the U.S. imported just over 317,000 tons of olive oil in 2011/12, up 8.6 per­cent on the pre­vi­ous sea­son.

Imports also down in Australia, up in Japan, Russia, China

Imports have also slid in Australia, by 7 per­cent, but risen 26 per­cent in Japan, 9 per­cent in Russia, and 8 per­cent in China.

And data for the eight months to May shows that imports within the European Union are down 7 per­cent but those into the E.U. are up 53 per­cent. This is obvi­ously linked to the low level of E.U. olive oil pro­duc­tion in 2012/2013,” the IOC said.

Uruguay

Its August newslet­ter includes a focus on Uruguay, which recently became the IOC’s 18th mem­ber, and where olive pro­duc­tion is expand­ing at full steam.”

The IOC said that in the decade to 2012, Uruguay’s crop area grew from 500ha to 9,000ha, of which 92 per­cent is rain­fed, and was in line to reach 11,500ha by 2015.

Production is still small with olive oil out­put for the 2013/14 crop year esti­mated at 800 tons. Output is expected to grow in vol­ume once the major­ity of the young orchards start bear­ing crops. This will allow Uruguay to build up its export chan­nels, which have been rather lim­ited so far because of the small level of pro­duc­tion.

Uruguay’s fledg­ling exports go pri­mar­ily to Brazil and Central America, the United States, Canada and Japan,” it said.

Table olive mar­ket

Imports of table olives are up 23 per­cent in Brazil, 11 per­cent in Russia, 8 per­cent in Canada, 4 per­cent in Australia, and 1 per­cent in the U.S. for October 2012 – June 2013.

The E.U. data, cov­er­ing to May only, shows imports into the E.U. rose 3 per­cent and those within the E.U. grew 1 per­cent on the same period the sea­son before, the IOC said.



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