This year is expected to be the world’s second-best for olive oil production, thanks largely to increases in Algeria, Morocco, Syria and Turkey.
According to International Olive Council (IOC) forecasts, the 2010/11 production will stand at 3.08 million tons – the EU accounting for 73 percent of this – up from 3.02 million tons in 2009-10 and close on the heels of the 2003/04 record of 3.17 million tons.
Spain is expected to weigh in with 1.37 million tons – 45 percent of world production – followed by Italy (480,000 tons), Greece (300,000 tons), Portugal (71,800 tons) and France (5,600 tons).
In its April market newsletter, the IOC said the chief sources of this year’s rise in production were Syria (set to achieve an all-time high of 180,000 tons), Turkey (160,000 tons), Morocco (where production is tipped to double to 150,000 tons), and Algeria (50,000 tons).
Global olive oil production has increased 89 percent in the last 20 years. It was just 1.45 million tons back in 1990-91.
In the first three months of 2010-11 (Oct-Dec), combined imports into the EU, the USA, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Australia were up 17 percent on the same period a year ago. The EU in particular showed a big rise, 22 percent.
Looked at over the five month to February, imports into Japan had decreased by 6 percent but risen elsewhere: Australia (+2 percent), Brazil (+21 percent) Canada (+16 percent) and the USA (+9 percent).
The IOC noted an increasing gap between producer prices in Italy and those paid in Spain and Greece. Compared with the same time last year, EVOO prices are 5 percent lower in both Greece (€1.94/kg) and Spain (€2.01/kg), while in Italy they are up 44 percent (€3.90/kg).
“Recent weeks have seen a steep rise in prices in Italy, contrasting with a small drop in Greece and stability in Spain. This tends to confirm the growing distance between the prices paid to producers in Italy and those paid in Spain and Greece,” the IOC said.