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: After moving downwards in recent months, producer prices in Spain started to inch up a few weeks ago, perhaps in reaction to forecasts of a smaller harvest for next year. By the last week in June, they had reached €2.16/kg. While this is still 22 pc lower than the same period a year earlier it is 10.2 pc above the level reached in the third week of May (€1.96/kg). During the period analyzed, prices peaked at €3.02/kg at the beginning of March 2013 (see Graph 1).
Italy: In recent months, producer prices in Italy have been clearly pointed upwards. In the first three weeks of June they reached their highest level (€3.67/kg) of the period analyzed in Graph 1, only to dip to €3.65/kg in the last week of the month. This level is 17 pc higher than a season earlier and 38 pc higher than the price low recorded in the second week of December 2013 (€2.64/kg).
Greece: Prices look more stable in Greece than in Spain and Italy. Although they rose between March and April 2014 to reach the highest levels recorded in the graph (€2.61/kg), in June they held steady at around €2.49/kg, which is 1 pc above the level in the same period of the previous crop year.
Tunisia: At the end of October 2013, producers were paid €2.53/kg for their extra virgin olive oil. After that, prices started moving downwards until late December 2013, when they leveled off after some fluctuations, only to pick up in late June, when they reached €2.43/kg, thus showing a decrease of 11 pc versus the same period a season earlier. Producer prices in 2012/13 were influenced by the poor harvest in Spain, which generated higher prices than in 2011/12. This season, the combination of a good harvest in Spain and a poor harvest in Tunisia probably partly explains the current level of prices in Tunisia, which have moved away from Spanish prices since early January 2014.
Refined olive oil: In Spain, the producer prices for refined olive oil, like those for extra virgin, have started to go upwards in recent weeks, reaching €2.07/kg by the end of June. Even so, this is still 16 pc lower than the same period a year earlier. In Italy, prices have been moving in parallel with prices in Spain, although with a peak in the third week of January (€2.83/kg), after which they fell to €2.00/kg in late June 2014. No price data are available for this product category in Greece.
At the end of May 2014, the price of refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil in Spain differed by €0.09/kg with €2.16/kg being paid for the first category and €2.07/kg for the second. In Italy, the difference in price between the two categories is much wider than in Spain and lies at €1.65/kg (Graph 3).