The United States docked two in every five tons of olive oil imported globally in the first six months of this season, according to the latest market newsletter from the International Olive Council.
And the huge American market continues to swell — with total imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil for October 2012 – March 2013 in line to rise four percent on last season.
The U.S. imported 33,208 tons in March alone, compared to 6,592 tons in Brazil — currently the world’s second biggest non-European olive oil buyer — where imports are up 16 percent, and 4,184 tons in Japan, where they’ve grown 29 percent.
The Chinese market, which unloaded 1,766 tons in March, is up 17 percent, and there’s been growth of five percent each in Canada and Russia but a five percent slump in Australia.
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Overall, total world imports are expected to expand three percent on 2011/12 to reach at least 790,000 tons.
The IOC said that due mainly to the 62 percent collapse in Spain’s production, total world production this season is expected to be down a quarter on 2011/12’s record 3 .77 million tons, and the season to end with 45 percent less in stocks.
Production is up, however, in Chile, by 30 percent, and by 22 percent each in Greece and Tunisia.
World consumption of 2.95 million tons is forecast for 2012/13, five percent less than last season.
The European Union (E.U.) is headed for the biggest drop — an expected overall decline of 12 percent. Individually, consumption looks poised to fall 15 percent in the chief E.U. producing countries — Spain, Italy and Greece — and by 10 percent in Portugal, the IOC said.
“Turkey is the country where consumption increases the most among the IOC Members,” it said.
Midway through the 2012/13 crop year, table olive imports are up 13 percent in Canada, 11 percent in Russia, eight percent in Australia, seven percent in Brazil and one percent in the U.S.