Olive oil imports into the crucial North American market have slipped slightly from last season, according to the latest newsletter from the International Olive Council.

Imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil for October 2012 to June 2013 are down 1 percent for the United States and 3 percent for Canada on the same period the previous season.

The IOC figures show that in these first nine months of the 2012/13 season, the U.S. imported just under 230,000 tons, down by nearly 1,900 tons on the same period last season.

The biggest drop-off was registered in May, when the country took more than 9,000 tons less than its May 2012 total of 28,958 tons, offsetting a rise of 7,500 tons last October.

In its February newsletter, the IOC reported the U.S. imported just over 317,000 tons of olive oil in 2011/12, up 8.6 percent on the previous season.

Imports also down in Australia, up in Japan, Russia, China

Imports have also slid in Australia, by 7 percent, but risen 26 percent in Japan, 9 percent in Russia, and 8 percent in China.

And data for the eight months to May shows that imports within the European Union are down 7 percent but those into the E.U. are up 53 percent. “This is obviously linked to the low level of E.U. olive oil production in 2012/2013,” the IOC said.


Its August newsletter includes a focus on Uruguay, which recently became the IOC’s 18th member, and where “olive production is expanding at full steam.”

The IOC said that in the decade to 2012, Uruguay’s crop area grew from 500ha to 9,000ha, of which 92 percent is rainfed, and was in line to reach 11,500ha by 2015.

“Production is still small with olive oil output for the 2013/14 crop year estimated at 800 tons. Output is expected to grow in volume once the majority of the young orchards start bearing crops. This will allow Uruguay to build up its export channels, which have been rather limited so far because of the small level of production.

“Uruguay’s fledgling exports go primarily to Brazil and Central America, the United States, Canada and Japan,” it said.

Table olive market

Imports of table olives are up 23 percent in Brazil, 11 percent in Russia, 8 percent in Canada, 4 percent in Australia, and 1 percent in the U.S. for October 2012–June 2013.

The E.U. data, covering to May only, shows imports into the E.U. rose 3 percent and those within the E.U. grew 1 percent on the same period the season before, the IOC said.

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