Spain concerns send olive oil prices soaring

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Speculators catching on?

Dryness has struck Spain in areas including the top producing areas of Andalusia, responsible for some 80% of domestic output, and second-ranked Castile-La Mancha, with a share of about 6%.

With Spain by far the world’s biggest exporter, with volumes typically exceeding 800,000 tonnes a year, the prospect of a poor 2014-15 olive harvest would raise concerns over availability, as evident in the rising prices.

However, some commentators have raised ideas that, with Spain’s stocks said to have rebounded above 1.0m tonnes thanks to its latest, bumper harvest, including nearly 780,000 tonnes at mills, other factors may also be involved in the rising prices.

Yago Cruz, chief executive of Cruzoliva, a Spanish supplier of bulk olive oils, said that speculators have “entered the game”, attempting to cash in on the rising market, while some mills have shut down sales while prices are rising, seeking higher values, and further fuelling the market increase.

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