Spain’s loss was Turkey’s gain last season in the world’s biggest olive oil market — the United States — where total imports slipped six percent on 2011/12.

Spain saw its sales to the US plummet from nearly 93,000 to just under 59,000 tons as its share of US imports shrank from nearly thirty to just under twenty percent. The International Olive Council (IOC), which reported the figures in its latest newsletter, said this was probably due to the drought-induced 62-percent drop in Spanish olive oil production in 2012/13.

Turkey’s sales multiplied nine-fold

Turkey’s exports to the US, meanwhile, shot up spectacularly from just 3,152 tons in 2011/12 to 28,729 tons last season. Climbing from just 1 percent of total US imports to 9.6 percent last season, its ranking rose from 8th to 4th out of all the US suppliers as it overtook Argentina, Greece, Morocco, and Chile and placed just under Tunisia, which with about 35,520 tons supplied nearly 12 percent of US imports.

However, the IOC has previously reported that Turkey expects lower production this season, due to poor rainfall during flowering, and Tunisia a significantly lower volume.

Italy still suppies half America’s olive oil

Leading supplier Italy’s exports to the US fell about 10,000 tons to 145,365 tons, its lowest volume for the last five years, but it clung onto most of its dominant market share, delivering 48.6 percent of the nearly 300,000 ton total of US olive oil imports in 2012/13.

Sales up from Greece, Morocco; down from Argentina, Australia

Greece’s exports rose from 5,531 to 7,492 tons and its market share went from 1.7 to 2.5 percent while Morocco went from 4,961 to 6,971 tons and from 1.6 to 2.3 percent respectively.

However Argentina went from about 9,090 to 5,510 and Australia from 1,985 to just 218 tons.

The vast majority – 64 percent – of olive oil imported by the US last season was in the virgin category – which also accounted for most of the six percent decline in overall volume – while a third was in the “olive oil” category and 4 percent was olive pomace oil.

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