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 three main EU producers.
The monthly price movements for the same two grades of oil are given in Graphs 2 & 4.
Extra virgin olive oil: In June 2014, producer prices in Spain started to rise constantly. In October the market seemed to be searching for equilibrium in that prices fell but in the following two months they reversed direction, reaching €3.12/kg by the end of December. This is the highest level yet in the period under review and is 55 pc higher than a year earlier and 59 pc higher than the low recorded in May 2014 (€1.96/kg) (Graph 1).
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. This price hike was probably prompted by the forecasts of a lower-than-usual harvest.
The IOC does not know the volume of product sold at these prices.
After a small dip in the second last week of December, prices switched back upwards to reach €5.55/kg at the end of December 2014, equating with an increase of 109 pc on a year earlier and 110 pc compared with 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 changed in recent crop years.
Greece: After holding steady at €2.51/kg through July and August 2014, producer prices in Greece climbed for several weeks. They then declined at the beginning of October only to peak in the next two months. At the end of December 2014, they stood at €2.91/kg, thus showing 18 pc growth on the same period of 2012/13.
Tunisia: At the end of October 2013, producers were paid €2.53/kg for their extra virgin olive oil. Prices then started moving downwards until late December 2013, when they levelled off after some fluctuations. By the end of December 2014 they were lying at €2.73/kg (+22 pc compared with a year earlier) and they have remained at this level for the last two weeks.
Refined olive oil: Producer prices for refined olive oil moved up in a similar upward direction in Spain and Italy from June 2014. In Spain they dipped slightly in the last two weeks of September 2014, then picking up again only to fall slightly to €2.66/kg by the end of December 2014.
Despite this dip, this price level is 41 pc higher than in the same period of 2012/13. In Italy, while prices have been moving in parallel with those in Spain, they did peak in the third week of January 2014 (€2.83/kg).
At the end of December, prices were hovering around €2.75/kg, translating into a period-on-period increase of 27 pc which restores Italian prices to their usual position above Spanish prices.
No price data are available for this product category in Greece.
At the end of December 2014, the price of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil in Spain differed by €0.46/kg, with €2.66/kg being paid for the first category and €3.12/kg for the second.
In Italy, the difference in price between the two categories is quite a lot wider than in Spain (€2.80/kg – Graph 3).
Source: International Olive Council – Newsletter N89IOC Report on Olive Oil Producer Prices,