Less than one month away from wrapping up the current (2013/14) campaign, reports out of Spain indicate that the country has surpassed one million metric tons in exported olive oil for the first time in history.
According to El Pais, Spain’s export market has been growing steadily in recent years and is nearly double that of its current domestic demand. While the internal market has fluctuated minimally around 550,000 MT, exports have almost doubled, increasing from an average of around 600,000 MT in the ’90s to an estimated 1.1 million MT for the season ending this month.
According to Asoliva, the marked increase in exports this campaign is mainly due to a record harvest (1,775,000 MT) that occurred when prices were already low. Moreover, Spain was virtually the only country among its competitors in Europe and North Africa (namely Greece, Italy, Turkey and Morocco) to have a stellar harvest.
The record is short-lived, however, with analysts predicting a steep drop-off in Spanish olive oil production for the 2014/15 season.
The main export market for bottled olive oil, as usual, was the European Union (60,000 MT), followed by the United States (20,000 MT), Australia and Brazil (17,000 MT each), China (12,000 MT), Japan (8,000 MT) and Russia (7,000 MT). Spain is currently the leading exporter to the United States, China and Japan, while Italy retains its foothold in Germany and Canada.
Two companies have been crucial to the rapid growth of the U.S. market. The first is the Sevilla-based Portuguese company Sovena, which was forced to buy Spanish oil to meet its demand in the United States; the second, Pomperian, is a supplier to Costco.