Spain has pumped out a record 1.59 million tons of olive oil this season, according to figures to March 31 released today (April 26) by Spain’s Olive Oil Agency (AAO).

With milling nearly complete for 2011/12, the figure easily supersedes the country’s previous high of nearly 1.42 million tons in 2003/04.

More than 7.58 million tons of olives have been processed since October, with an average yield of 21.1 percent, 0.64 points up from last season, according to the AAO. The vast bulk of production took place in November and December, with 653,000 tons in the latter month alone – no doubt thanks largely to a harvest with no rain.

A new record for exports for October-March – 418,100 tons – also appears to have been set, though the March figures are still provisional. “This figure is of great significance,” says the AAO, “because it represents a 3 percent rise on the record set last year and 21 percent in relation to the average (for the same period) for the last four years.

Interestingly, imports into Spain have also risen, though the AAO offers no explanation, merely noting the total of 34,000 tons to March 31. That’s up 70 percent on the same period last year and 13 percent on 2009/10.

On the domestic front, internal demand of 304,000 tons so far is up six percent relative to last year and nine percent above the average for the four previous seasons.

Spain now has a record level of olive oil stocks – 1.38 million tons, up from 1.13 million the same time last year.

Table olives

Spain’s table olive harvest, meanwhile, is down 14 percent relative to this time a year ago, with just 519,710 tons, of which 156,210 have been exported and 90,450 sold internally.

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