Spain’s olive oil production, domestic consumption and exports are all up – but stocks are at a four-year low – for October, the first month of the new olive oil season.

The 8,700 ton total produced last month is a third higher than that for October last year but lags about 10,000 tons behind October 2011, which was the start of a record production year, figures from the Spanish Olive Oil Agency (AAO) show.

Nearly 66,000 tons of olives were processed last month with a yield of 13.18 percent, down 0.1 points on October 2012.

Exports, totaling 75,00 tons, are up nine percent on last year but still under the levels of the previous three Octobers, while domestic consumption recovered to 47,000 tons, beating last year’s monthly average of 41,500 tons and well above the October average of 39,000 tons for the previous four seasons.

Imports, meanwhile, also remain high – totaling 6,000 tons for October and on par with last year but well above the October average for the previous three years.

Even so, Spain ended October with just olive oil stocks of just 193,000 tons, about half the monthly average for the last four seasons.

Unfavorable weather meant national production reached just 617,000 tons last season – about a million tons lower than Spain’s bumper harvest of 1.6 million tons in 2011/12.

The International Olive Council forecast for this season’s production in Spain is 1.5 million tons, while the Andalusian government expects about 1.6 million tons – a figure some agricultural unions say is too optimistic. GEA Westfalia Separator Group’s International Center for Olive Oil Excellence predicts 1.35 million tons, Deoleo says 1.3-1.4 million tons, and the Spanish Association of Municipalities of the Olive Tree (AEMO) tips between 1.4 and 1.5 million tons.

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