The world produced just over 3 million tons of olive oil in the 2010/11 harvest season, according to preliminary estimates released today in the International Olive Council’s September Market Summary. Spain is responsible for 46 percent of the total, or nearly 1.4 million tons.

Total worldwide exports and global consumption of olive oil both rose 3 percent over last year. The council noted in its report that for the past five years olive oil consumption has seen an average annual increase of 3 percent. Consumption rose in every country tracked by the report except one: Japan continued its trend and consumed 6,000 tons less than it did last year.

Between October and July of this year, Australians imported 9 percent less olive oil than during the same period last year, while import totals rose impressively in Brazil (26 percent), the United States (7 percent) and Canada (6 percent).

Comparing current olive oil prices to last year’s reveals, not surprisingly, much lower levels in Spain, and higher prices for Italian olive oil. Prices in Greece were level.

Recently, Italian prices have backed off recent record highs and Spanish olive oil prices saw a small rally when the European Commission announced limited aid for temporary private storage of olive oil surpluses.

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