`'Worrisome' Fall in World Olive Oil Trade

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'Worrisome' Fall in World Olive Oil Trade

Mar. 10, 2014
Julie Butler

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Olive oil imports are down in all the major world mar­kets, a sit­u­a­tion the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil (IOC) finds alarm­ing.

IOC fig­ures for the first three months of the 2013/14 olive oil sea­son — Octo­ber to Decem­ber 2013 — show trade into the biggest two mar­kets out­side the Euro­pean Union (EU), the United States (US) and Brazil, have fallen a tenth on the same period last year.

And the declines in imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil by the next biggest buy­ers are: Japan 1 per­cent, China 20 per­cent, Canada 8 per­cent, Aus­tralia 25 per­cent and Rus­sia 9 per­cent.

This is despite the IOC pre­dict­ing In its trade fore­casts late last Novem­ber that sales into these mar­kets would main­tain their vol­umes this sea­son except in the cases of the US, China and Aus­tralia, where mod­est growth of nearly 0.7, 2.6 and 5.2 per­cent respec­tively was expected.

Accord­ing to the IOC’s Feb­ru­ary mar­ket newslet­ter, extra-EU imports in Octo­ber and Novem­ber were down 14 per­cent and intra-EU acqui­si­tions down 4 per­cent on the same two months the pre­vi­ous sea­son. (EU data for Decem­ber 2013 was not yet avail­able,)

IOC: sit­u­a­tion wor­ri­some and requires close scrutiny

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The IOC took some heart from the fact that in com­par­i­son with Decem­ber 2012, imports were up last Decem­ber in Aus­tralia, Brazil, Canada and Rus­sia. How­ever, the reverse was the case in the US, Japan and China, the world’s 1st, 3rd and 4th biggest importers in terms of vol­ume out­side the E.U.

Olive oil and olive pomace oil trade fig­ures from the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil Feb­ru­ary 2014 mar­ket newslet­ter

The imme­di­ate inter­pre­ta­tion is that avail­able sup­plies in the new sea­son were not at hand for export in the first two months of 2013/14 (Octo­ber and Novem­ber 2013), par­tic­u­larly in Spain because of its low level of pro­duc­tion in 2012/13, but this does not seem valid for the Decem­ber fig­ures for China, Japan (to a lim­ited extent) and the United States (where the Novem­ber fig­ures were bet­ter), which are three key importer coun­tries.

This sit­u­a­tion is wor­ri­some and will require close scrutiny of the fig­ures for Jan­u­ary 2014,” the IOC said in its newslet­ter.

World trade in table olives

Table olive imports in the first three months of the 2013/14 crop year (Octo­ber – Decem­ber 2013) rose by 4 per­cent in the United States and 1 per­cent in Aus­tralia but fell by 14 per­cent in Canada, 11 per­cent in Rus­sia and 9 per­cent in Brazil.

EU data for Decem­ber 2013 was not avail­able but in the first two months of the table olive crop year, intra-EU acqui­si­tions slumped 11 per­cent and imports from non-EU coun­tries by 7 per­cent.


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