` World Olive Oil Production Drops by a Quarter, Council Predicts - Olive Oil Times

World Olive Oil Production Drops by a Quarter, Council Predicts

Mar 11, 2013 2:15 AM EDT
Julie Butler

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The International Olive Council’s (IOC) fore­cast for world olive oil pro­duc­tion in 2012/13 has been pared down 8 per­cent to 2.5 mil­lion tons amid evi­dence the Spanish har­vest will be even lower than expected.

Last November the IOC pre­dicted 2.71 mil­lion tons in world pro­duc­tion this sea­son (October-September), down from 3.4 mil­lion in 2011/12, and that Spain’s har­vest, dec­i­mated by adverse weather, would be down 49 per­cent on the pre­vi­ous crop year, to just 820,000 tons.

But in its February newslet­ter, pub­lished on Friday, the IOC acknowl­edged that Spanish olive oil pro­duc­tion in the first four months of 2012/13 was already down 62 per­cent, accord­ing to Spain’s Olive Oil Agency.

As the world’s lead­ing pro­ducer, Spain has a big impact on the global total, thus the 2012/13 esti­mates for the European Union (E.U.) and world out­put have been revised to 1.52 and 2.5 mil­lion tons respec­tively.


Morocco and Tunisia are enjoy­ing good har­vests, but pro­duc­tion in Italy and Greece will be lower than oper­a­tors tipped late last year, the IOC said.


The coun­cil also acknowl­edged that, accord­ing to recent fig­ures from the Spanish agri­cul­ture min­istry, in the cur­rent cri­sis set­ting olive oil con­sump­tion by Spanish house­holds dropped 14 per­cent in the last four months of 2012 while con­sumer prices rose by an aver­age 10 per­cent.”

However, it did not revise its global con­sump­tion fore­cast for this year of 3.1 mil­lion tons, down from 3.2 mil­lion in 2010/11.

Imports up a third in Japan, a quar­ter in Australia

Meanwhile, imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil grew 35 per­cent in Japan, 24 per­cent in Australia, 23 per­cent in Brazil, 13 per­cent in Russia, 10 per­cent in China, 8 per­cent in the United States and 3 per­cent in Canada, in the first quar­ter of 2012/13 crop year (October – December).

Spain’s exports inched up 2 per­cent in non‑E.U. coun­tries — chiefly in China, Brazil, Japan and India — in October and November, but it sold less to E.U. coun­tries.

Figures for the same two months show a major 119 per­cent rise in extra E.U. imports (from the rest of the world into the E.U.) to nearly 24,400 tons. Imports from Tunisia (17,807 tons) and Morocco (5,014 tons) made their mark” on this increase, the IOC said, not­ing Morocco signed a free trade agree­ment with the E.U. in October.

Discrepancy in intra‑E.U. trade fig­ures

Theoretically they should be equal, but the breach is widen­ing between the imports and exports totals for olive oil and olive pomace oil within the E.U.

The IOC said intra‑E.U. imports (which are mainly vir­gin grade) for October and November fell 7 per­cent on the pre­vi­ous sea­son, from 175,985 to 164,559 tons, while exports between E.U. coun­tries slid 15 per­cent.

Notably, the gap between intra-EU import and export fig­ures has gone up from 10,455 to 24,033 tons for these first two months. Although there are always dis­crep­an­cies in inter­na­tional trade fig­ures, it will be nec­es­sary to track how this gap evolves over the com­ing months,” it said.

Producer prices had been below costs

Producer prices in Spain have under­gone a rea­son­able, log­i­cal increase.”

Olive Oil Agency sur­veys have in fact revealed that they have been exces­sively low in recent sea­sons and have not man­aged to cover pro­duc­tion costs,” the IOC said.

Prices have also gone up in Italy and Greece. In the for­mer, ex-mill prices for extra vir­gin olive oil rose from €2.61/kg in the last week of November to €3.19/kg in the last week of February — growth of 35 per­cent on the same period a sea­son ago.

And in Greece, prices gained 34 per­cent, climb­ing from €2.04/kg in last week of December to €2.46/kg in the last week of February.

The gap between the price of refined olive oil and extra vir­gin olive oil was about €0.29/kg in Spain and €0.36/kg in Italy.

United States trade fig­ures

The IOC also included analy­sis of the U.S. mar­ket, which holds top posi­tion in the olive oil and table olive import rank­ing”, and where it has run cam­paigns to pro­mote olive oil and olive con­sump­tion which have had a very sig­nif­i­cant impact.”

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

About 65 per­cent of these imports were vir­gin grade, of which Italy (103,250t) and Spain (21,260t) were the main pre-packed (<18kg) sup­pli­ers and Spain (27,140t) and Tunisia (19,424t) the main bulk sup­pli­ers.

Italy was by far the main non-bulk sup­plier of refined olive oil (40,880t) and edi­ble olive pomace oils (3,540t), while Spain (29,000t) and Tunisia (11,400t) led bulk sup­plies in refined, and Spain dom­i­nated in bulk edi­ble pomace (8,500t).

Incidentally, Canada and the Dominican Republic , which do not pro­duce olive oil, were sup­pli­ers of edi­ble pomace oil: Canada in the bulk cat­e­gory with 443 tons and the Dominican Republic third, after Italy and Spain, in packed, though with a mere 236 tons.

World trade in table olives

Imports of table olives were up 16 per­cent in Canada, 13 per­cent in Australia, 8 per­cent in Brazil and 1 per­cent each in the U.S. and Russia in the first three months of the 2012/13 (October – December 2012).

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