`Despite Tariffs, Spanish Olive Oil Exports to U.S. Rose to Begin Fiscal Year - Olive Oil Times

Despite Tariffs, Spanish Olive Oil Exports to U.S. Rose to Begin Fiscal Year

May. 6, 2021
Justo Alvarez

Recent News

Spanish olive oil exports to the United States rose unex­pect­edly in the first quar­ter of the 2020/21 fis­cal year, which runs from October 2020 to January 2021.

The increase in exports from the world’s largest pro­ducer to the third-largest con­sumer came despite the 25-per­cent tar­iff imposed by the U.S. on pack­aged Spanish olive oil imports, which was still in force at the time and only tem­porar­ily sus­pended on March 5.

According to data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, more than 54,000 tons of olive oil were shipped to the U.S. from October to January.

See Also: Producers Puzzled by Turkish Ban on Bulk Olive Oil Exports

This rep­re­sents a 49-per­cent increase com­pared with the pre­vi­ous quar­ter (from June to September 2020), mak­ing the U.S. the sec­ond-largest con­sumer of Spanish olive oil, slightly above Portugal and only behind Italy.

Along with increas­ing vol­umes, the value of exports to the U.S. grew as well, ris­ing by 46 per­cent com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year to reach €149.4 mil­lion.

However, the aver­age per-unit price of Spanish olive oil in the U.S. fell to €2.72 per kilo­gram, which was 2.3 per­cent lower than the pre­vi­ous crop year and two per­cent below the aver­age per-unit price of Spanish olive oil exports, in gen­eral.

Additionally, demand for the extra vir­gin and vir­gin olive oil cat­e­gories increased by about 72 per­cent, com­pared to the pre­vi­ous cam­paign.

Along with Spain, U.S. olive oil imports from the rest of the European Union rose as well, reach­ing more than 96,000 tons.

The fig­ure rep­re­sents a 44-per­cent increase com­pared to the pre­vi­ous crop year. It means that the U.S. con­sumes about 36 per­cent of E.U. exports, way ahead of sec­ond and third-placed Brazil and the United Kingdom, rep­re­sent­ing 11 per­cent and 10 per­cent of exports, respec­tively.

This sub­stan­tial increase in the Spanish olive oil imports by the U.S. comes as a sur­prise to pro­duc­ers after a dis­as­trous 2020, in which bot­tled olive oil sales to the coun­try fell by 80 per­cent.

See Also: Olive Oil Prices Hit Two-Year High in Spain

A vari­ety of fac­tors may be attrib­uted to the rever­sal of for­tunes for Spanish pro­duc­ers. Poor har­vests across the rest of the Mediterranean basin dras­ti­cally decreased the amount of avail­able olive oil on the export mar­ket. Changing olive oil con­sump­tion trends in the U.S. over the past few years may also have had an impact.

According to data from the International Olive Council, U.S. olive oil con­sump­tion in the 2020/21 crop year is expected to dip slightly com­pared to last year’s record-high, falling from 399,500 tons to 357,000 tons.

Research from the con­sult­ing ser­vice, Market Business Insights, sug­gested that this decrease was largely fueled by the wide­spread clo­sure of the restau­rant and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor.

With the suc­cess­ful roll­out of Covid-19 vac­cines across the coun­try, much of the U.S. is return­ing to nor­mal and tourism is resum­ing. This has likely boosted demand for bulk olive oil from Spain, which makes up the major­ity of the U.S. imports.





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