OLIVE OIL MARKET IN 2014/15. The table below reports the figures for imports of olive oil under customs heading 15.09 and olive pomace oil under customs heading 15.10 by a number of countries in the first seven months of the 2014/15 crop year (October 2014–April 2015). The data reveal year-on-year import increases of +10 pc in Japan with strong growth in March and April 2015, +3 pc in Brazil with sharp increases in January and February followed by a decrease in March, and +2 pc in China where imports started to rise in February 2015. On the contrary, imports have been lower in Russia (−22 pc) owing to a switch of trend in December 2014 which has continued until April 2015. They are also down in Australia (−14 pc as of November 2014), Canada (−11 pc) and the United States (-2 pc). Higher US imports in February 2015 offset earlier decreases in December and January but imports then fell again in March and April 2015.
The April 2015 data were not available for the EU at the time of publication but the data for the first six months of 2014/15 show an increase of 11 pc in intra-EU acquisitions and 149 pc in extra-EU imports compared with the same period a season earlier. Owing to the heavy drop in output in Spain and Italy, extra-EU imports by both countries soared, particularly imports from Tunisia (+831 pc and +255 pc, respectively) compared with a season earlier. As reported in the previous issue of this newsletter, this upward movement began in December even before the change in the EU regulation on the tariff quota at zero-rate duty. This fact is connected with the large climb in Tunisian production in 2014/15.
TABLE OLIVE MARKET IN 2014/15. In the first seven months of the 2014/15 crop year, i.e. from October 2014 to April 2015, table olive imports (see table below) were higher in the United States (+14 pc) and Brazil (+5 pc) than in the same period a year earlier. In the case of Australia, imports have moved in the opposite direction, dropping by 15 pc since November 2014. Decreases are also reported for Russia (−11 pc since January 2015) and Canada (−3 pc).
At the time of publication, the data for April 2015 were not available for the EU but in the first six months of the 2014/15 season, intra-EU acquisitions increased 4 pc and extra-EU imports rose 13 pc compared with the same period of 2013/14.
PRODUCER PRICES. Graph 1 tracks the weekly movements in the prices paid to producers for extra virgin olive oil in the three top EU producing countries plus Tunisia while Graph 3 shows the weekly changes in the producer prices for refined olive oil in the main three EU producers. The monthly price movements for the same two grades of oil are tracked in Graphs 2 and 4.
It is not for the IOC to judge whether these price levels reflect an adequate balance between production costs along the supply chain and the prices that consumers are prepared to pay in their domestic currency to continue consuming olive oil. Nevertheless, this is a concern that all market players will no doubt take into account for the long-term sustainable equilibrium and development of the sector.
Extra virgin olive oil: Producer prices in Spain rose steadily in the second half of 2014. After breaking the three-euro barrier in the second week of December 2014, they have continued on their upward trajectory with some minor fluctuations until they peaked at a high of €3.59 kg in the third week of June 2015. A week later they dipped to €3.53/kg, which is 63 pc higher than a year earlier and 80 pc above the low recorded in the third week of May 2014 (€1.96/kg).
Italy: In recent months, producer prices in Italy have been on a very clear upward trend. In the week from 10 to 16 November 2014, they hit the highest level of both the period under review and the last decade, reaching €6.79/kg. After decreasing slightly in the second last week of December 2014 prices switched back upwards. After some small dips, they were lying at €5.64/kg at the end of June 2015, i.e. 55 pc higher than a year earlier and 114 pc more than the low recorded in the second week of December 2013 (€2.64/kg). Graph 2 shows how the monthly prices of extra virgin olive oil have behaved in recent crop years.
Greece: Prices have been high in recent months, breaking the three-euro/kg barrier in the third week of January 2015. In the last few weeks they have been lying steady. At the end of June 2015 they were still at €3.09/kg, +24 pc higher than the same period a season earlier.
Tunisia: Towards the end of December 2014, producers were paid €2.73/kg for their extra virgin olive oil. Prices held steady for a while but then started to move upwards in the first week of January 2015. After some small fluctuations, they switched back upwards and peaked at the highest level of the period under review. By the end of June 2015, they were lying at €3.48/kg, equating with period-on-period growth of +43 pc.
Refined olive oil: Producer prices for refined olive oil have hit their highest levels for the period under review. In Spain they were standing at €3.15/kg at the end of June 2015, up by 52 pc on the same period of the preceding crop year. In Italy prices stood at €3.17/kg at the end of June 2015, translating into a period-on-period increase of 54 pc. No price data are available for this product category in Greece.
At the end of June 2015, the price of refined olive oil (€3.15/kg) and extra virgin olive oil (€3.53/kg ) differed by €0.38/kg in Spain. In Italy, the difference in price between the two categories is considerably wider (€2.47/kg – Graph 3).