By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

According to the most recent figures from the Agencia para el Aceite de Oliva (AAO), Spain’s exports have continued to soar, already reaching some 430,000 tons this campaign, a 23% increase from last season’s figures.  Economists agree that this will help to equilibrate the market balance this season in the face of over-production fears.

Despite a jump in exports, more than half of Spain’s olive oil produced this campaign, some 741,100 tons, still remain in oil mills across the country. This is a whopping 32% increase from figures gleaned from the last 4 campaigns as EU advisers have urged producers to retain their products to prevent an oversaturation of the world olive oil market.

With respect to Spain’s domestic market, internal demand has remained relatively stable reaching 329,900 tons- a gentle 3% increase from the last campaign. At the same time, Spain’s olive oil imports have dropped 31% in relation to the average of the last 4 campaigns. This makes for a highly favorable import-export ratio that some see as the result of an exhaustive international advertising campaign undertaken by the Spanish government.

In spite of this favorable import-export ratio there is still growing concern among Spanish growers about covering costs as global output of olive oil has continued to soar and farm-gate prices have been on the decline since January 2005. In spite of heavy February rains that caused Spanish rivers to burst and threatened to deplete this season’s olive crop, the total volume of Spanish olive oil reached 873,500 tons at the end of May 2010, a 24% increase in the average taken from the past 4 seasons. Spain achieved a record olive oil output of 1.236 million tons two years ago.

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