Spanish olive oil sector sink but continues to conquer emerging markets
Down trade within the EU grew by 119% while imports from Tunisia and Morocco. Well the American market with an 8% annual increase in imports
Standing at 543 600 t, Spanish olive oil production in the first four months of 2012/13 was 62% down on the previous season, according to Spain’s Olive Oil Agency.
Producer prices on the Spanish marketplace have experienced a reasonable, logical increase. Olive Oil Agency surveys have in fact revealed that they have been excessively low in recent seasons and have not managed to cover production costs. According to the latest food consumption figures released by the Spanish agriculture ministry, in the current crisis setting olive oil consumption by Spanish households dropped 14 % in the last four months of 2012 while consumer prices rose by an average 10 %.
In the previous three seasons, Spanish output of olive oil was very high, averaging 1469000 t per crop year.
Spanish exports in 2011/12 hit an all-time record of 968146 t, with 70 % going to EU countries and 30 % to countries outside the EU. In the first two months of the ongoing 2012/13 season, Spanish exports to the EU declined but, despite the situation, they continued upwards to non-EU countries, recording 2 % growth, chiefly in exports to China, Brazil, Japan and India.
In the first two months of the 2012/13 crop year (October–November 2012), intra-EU imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil dropped by 7 % on the same period of the year before, going down from 175 985 t to 164 559 t, while intra-EU exports during the same period decreased by 15 %. Notably, the gap between intra-EU import and export figures has gone up from 10 455 t to 24 033 t for these first two months.
Conversely, extra-EU/27 imports have recorded an increase of 119 %, reaching 24 368 t. Imports from two IOC member countries where harvests have been good – Morocco (5014 t) and Tunisia (17807 t) – have made their mark in this increase. Morocco signed a free trade agreement with the EU in October 2012. In terms of product category, 80 % of imports belong to the virgin grade, 13 % to the olive oil grade and 7 % is olive pomace oil.
The United States holds top position in the olive oil and table olive import ranking. In 2011/12, it imported 317095 t of olive oil, 8.6 % more than a season earlier. The IOC ran a campaign that same season to promote olive oil and olive consumption in the United States, following in the tracks of its earlier campaign back in 1983/84.
In 2011/12, 65 % of total U.S. imports (204354.20 t) was of virgin olive oil, with imports split 40/22 % between packed and bulk product; 30 % (96056.70 t) was olive oil grade, split between 16 % packed and 14 % bulk, and the remaining 5 % was olive pomace oil. 81 % of all imports came from EU countries, led by Italy (49 % of total) followed by Spain (29 %). The remainder was from Tunisia (11 %), Argentina (3 %), Morocco (2 %), and Turkey, Australia and Chile, each with a 1 % share. In the first three months of the current 2012/13 season (October–December 2012), U.S. imports recorded 8 % growth on the same period of the previous crop year.