Worldwide trade in olive oil is up 10 percent on last year – an increase of 120,222 tons, according to the October Market Newsletter of the International Olive Council (IOC).

For the ten months to July 2011, imports into Brazil notched an impressive climb of 23 percent on the same period a year ago, and also rose significantly in the United States (9 percent) and Canada (7 percent). But in Australia and Japan, they continued to fall, down 9 percent and 11 percent respectively.

EVOO Producer prices

While Spanish olive oil prices enjoyed a small rally when the European Commission announced limited aid for temporary private storage of virgin olive oil on September 30, the impact has not endured. “Prices have turned downwards again. By the last week of October they had returned to the level recorded in the last week of September, i.e. €1.85/kg,” noted the IOC. It added prices in Italy have also fallen sharply (-24.7 percent) after hitting a record level in week 20 (€3.92/kg).

However in comparison with the same period a year ago, prices have dropped 6 percent in Spain (€1.85/kg) and 4 percent in Greece (€1.95/kg) but climbed 7 percent in Italy (€2.95/kg).

Spain’s 2010/11 production

According to new figures included in the report from the Spanish Olive Oil Agency, at the close of the 2010/11 season (end of September 2011) Spain, the world’s top producer, had produced 1,389,700 tons of olive oil. Spanish imports totaled 45,800 tons, down 3 percent on last season, while domestic consumption (557,600 tons) was up 5 percent. According to provisional figures, Spain exported 824,100 tons of olive oil.

Profiles of table olive and olive oil consumption in Turkey, Morocco and Spain

The newsletter shared details of recent profiles on olive and olive oil consumption. In Turkey, where more table olives (and predominantly the black variety) are consumed than olive oil, a survey found 58 percent of consumers associated them with breakfast. In 2010/11, Turkey consumed 12 percent of all the table olives produced in the world, ranking second after the EU27.

Moroccans consume 2.8kg of olive oil and 1.2 kg of table olives (predominantly the Picholine marocaine variety) per capita each year. The country last year doubled its olive oil production and current olive cultivation totals 730,000 hectares, 7 percent of which are irrigated.

In Spain, where green table olives are the most popular, 4 percent of the country’s total olive crop area (2.5 million ha) is dedicated to growing table olives, mainly the Hojiblanca and Manzanilla varieties. Sixty percent of its table olives are exported. The average Spaniard consumers 3.8 kg of table olives a year and it’s the Catalans who eat the most.

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