council-calls-canada-australia-olive-oil-import-trends-worryingA decline in olive and pomace oil imports into Canada and Australia is “worrying,” the International Olive Council declares in its April newsletter (PDF).

It reports that October-February imports into Canada and Australia were 20 and 5 percent lower respectively than the same period last season. “This is particularly worrying” it says “because this downward movement has been happening for three months in a row.”

While imports into the United States have stayed steady, into China they’ve climbed 25 percent, Russia 16 percent, Japan 13 percent and Brazil 7 percent, relative to 2010/11. There’s been a drop of 3 percent in intra-EU imports and of 18 percent in extra-EU imports but the latter “comes as no surprise given the volume of EU production this season” the IOC says.

Canada and Australia

The October–February figures show that imports into Canada have been down every month – except November – compared to the same time a year before. Canada’s February tonnage of 2263 was a significant decrease on 3210 the year before.

Meanwhile, after a slightly below-par November, Australia took a dramatic dive in December, to just 1580 tons – less than half of its 3505 total for December 2010. But the IOC data shows that since then it has been above its 2010/11 levels, with 3060 and 2289 tons respectively this January and February, compared to 1887 and 1723 in 2011.

Olive Oil Imports (Source: International Olive Council)

Ongoing Farm Gate Gloom

Compared with the same period a year before, EVOO producer prices are down 38 percent in Italy (€2.40/kg), 12 percent in Spain (€1.77/kg) and 5 percent in Greece (€1.84/kg).

“In recent months prices have flatlined in Greece and remained virtually steady in Spain while perking slightly in Italy. Even so, they are at their lowest levels since October 2009 in all three countries” the IOC said.

Prices for refined olive oil are at their lowest for the last three crop years, having fallen 6 percent in Italy, to €1.80, and 4 percent in Spain, to €1.69/kg, over the last 12 months. No figures were available for Greece. “The gap between the price of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil is currently around €0.08/kg in Spain and €0.60/kg in Italy.”

Table Olives

Table olive imports were up 20 percent into Brazil and 3 percent into Canada but down 11 percent into the U.S., 6 percent into Australia and 4 percent into Russia. Intra-EU imports rose and the extra-EU ones fell.


The IOC newsletter focused on China, where olive oil and olive pomace oil imports have leaped up 375 percent since 2006/07 to reach 33,227 tons last year, 82 percent of which was virgin olive oil and Spain the key supplier.

China Olive Oil Imports (Source: International Olive Council)

“According to business sources, marketers first managed to get a foot into the Chinese market by persuading companies to include olive oil in the corporate gift hampers that are customary in China. As a result of this first encounter with olive oil, retail supermarket sales started to expand as customers bought olive oil themselves.”

International Olive Council April 2012 Newsletter (PDF)

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