Olive & Oil 03/10/2011

Outlook on olive oil production in Mediterranean area

Good performance in all countries, in particular in Tunisia and Turkey. The passing of the demand for olive oil supply will be probably a remember of the past campaign

The next oil campaign promises of abundance in the Mediterranean area, geographical region where it produces 97% of the olive oil in the world.

Spain is no a surprise and will reach another record and will produce 1.450mila tons of olive oil, an increase of 5 / 10% over last year.

The real surprises of the campaign will, however, non-EU olive oil.

In fact, Tunisia is expected to double olive production: 200 thousand tons, a similar production level will reach Turkey too.

Increase in Morocco where it will produce 90 thousand tons of oil with a slight increase compared to last year. Also increased the production in Syria: 160 thousand tons.

In EU there is a stable production in Portugal, France and Greece, the latter credited with 280 thousand tons.

On the quality of the season looks favorable in Andalucia in Spain where it is in Catalonia are the basis for quality oils. In some areas, especially in the south of Andalusia, there may be some problem with an unfavorable pulp / stone resulting flavor of wood oil. In Castiglia and Extramadura, however, as always, much will depend on the first frosts of autumn, and since that could compromise the quality of oil.

Excellent quality in Greece, especially in Pelopponeso, but a few more problems in Crete, due to a production patchy infestation of flies and a few olives.

Good quality is expected in both Turkey and Tunisia. Rather difficult to Morocco, where various issues relating to plant health and drought are compromising the quality of production that should be standard in European trading.

Good news for Italy, where production is expected to grow by a 15-20%, reaching a height of 350 thousand tons. A positive for the country as a whole but must be interpreted correctly.

In fact it will be the South, which will produce nearly 300 thousand tons, to gain a leadership position in the industry, the Centre-North and instead recorded double-digit declines generalized production. In particular, Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio will suffer more the vintage, characterized by unfavorable climatic conditions here, with declines which still stands at 40% but may be even higher in some areas. Heat and drought, since the flowering, fruit set and then have undermined the development of small fruits that, on the Tyrrhenian coast, were also attacked by the olive fruit fly at the end of July. In the case of an area such as the Garda, is only a slight decrease which originates from a problem during flowering (drought), some loss problem of olives and some cases of alternation of production even after three years of strong production .

The South, however, apart from the Salento area affected by leprosy, olive spread, should show good production, an increase of 20-25% over the previous year. Particularly in the north of Puglia production is abundant and of excellent quality. The situation is also positive and productive plant in Calabria and Sicily, where the growth will be double digit. In Calabria excellent productions are expected in the northern region and in the area of ​​Catanzaro. In Sicily will be the northwest, Agrigento and Palermo in particular to have the most abundant production and from Trapani and Iblei should record production declines.

Overall, the area of the Mediterranean is expected to expand production by 10-15%. After the last campaign the IOC had recorded the first passing of the historical demand over supply, already in the 2011/12 campaign will return to a surplus production, regardless of the stocks are still present in many countries.

If stocks are in Italy only a few thousand tons, mainly due to reduced trade in the summer, the situation is much worse in Spain, where 800 thousand tons are still available for old oil. Few stocks in North Africa 50 thousand tons and 40-Syrians are in the stores.

di Alberto Grimelli, Marcello Scoccia