`Low Olive Oil Reserves Cast Shadow on Spain’s Increased Production

Europe

Low Olive Oil Reserves Cast Shadow on Spain’s Increased Production

Nov. 30, 2015
Erin Ridley

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After a dis­mal 2014 – 2015 har­vest, esti­mates for a sub­stan­tial increase in Spain’s 2015 – 2016 olive oil pro­duc­tion have come as wel­come news. But low reserves are cast­ing a shadow, reduc­ing a per­ceived increase of 398,000 tons to an actual inven­tory increase of just 80,000.

In Octo­ber, the Gov­ern­ment of Andalu­cia released offi­cial esti­mates that the country’s olive oil indus­try should pro­duce some 1,240,000 tons dur­ing the 2015 – 2016 sea­son, a seem­ingly large increase over last year’s out­put of just 842,000 tons.

Ulti­mately, how­ever, the actual inven­tory increase will be a great deal less given that this year fol­lows a very poor 2014 – 2015 pro­duc­tion sea­son. Cristo­bal Gal­lego of Asaja Jaén told elE­con­o­mista Agro that on Octo­ber 1st of last year, there were reserves of around 500,000 tons, and reserves this year are only around 180,000 tons.”

This means that this year Spain will have an inven­tory of 1,420,000 ver­sus 1,342,000 last year, trans­lat­ing to a mere 80,000-ton increase.

As it stands, the exist­ing reserves are likely owed to the price increases over the sum­mer, which left con­sumers turn­ing to alter­na­tives. Explained Gal­lego, If the prices hadn’t gone up as they did in August, we would have been left with­out oil.”

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With sup­ply still lim­ited, the indus­try now looks to the future, hop­ing that after two rel­a­tively unpro­duc­tive sea­sons (one very bad; the other just aver­age), that next year will bring more promise.

The out­look, how­ever, isn’t nec­es­sar­ily good. Rain, which can be ben­e­fi­cial dur­ing har­vest — both for the olives being har­vested, and the sea­son to come — has so far been lim­ited.



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