Monday, August 6, 2012

Olive Oil Production Exceeds Consumption

The depressed state of the world trade in olive oil can be partially explained by the simple dynamics of supply and demand. According to the statistics published by the International Olive Council, supply of extra virgin olive oil exceeds demand. This has led to low prices and storage of olive oil in Spain in an attempt reverse the supply/demand situation. However, the stored extra virgin olive oil will deteriorate and its release into the market will increase the availability of lower grade olive oil selling at lower prices and competing with extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Oil Imports into Australia Steady

The imports of olive oil into Australia have remained steady over the same periods in 2011 and 2012 according to International Olive Council data. Dips in import volumes prompted some comments in the media that the cause was the inroads made by locally produced oils. However, the comparatively low imports in the last three months of 2011 were balanced by increased levels in the first three months of 2012.  Over this period the level of imports is steady at just under 3,000 tonnes per month.

Small Gains in Local Oil Consumption in Australia

Analysis of International Olive Council data shows that the percentage of locally produced olive oils sold in Australia has risen approximately 4% over the past 5 years. Consumption of local oils remains at a low level of 27%, despite major publicity campaigns encouraging consumers to buy local and persistent unqualified attacks on the quality of all imported olive oils.

Per Capita Consumption of Olive Oil Increases in the USA

Per capita consumption of olive oil in the USA continues to rise (USDA, World Bank and IOC data). Over the five years from 2007 to 2011 consumption has increased from 0.82 litres per person to 0.88 litres. Most of the olive oil is imported making the US the largest importer outside the European Union. Local production, mainly from California, produces approximately 2% of consumer requirements.