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 the players on the market will no doubt take into account with an eye to the long-term sustainable equilibrium and development of the sector.
Extra virgin olive oil: Producer prices in Spain have risen steadily since the second half of 2014. After topping €4/kg in the second week of August 2015, they continued upwards to reach a period high (€4.23/kg) in the third week, then dipping to €4.19/kg in the last week. This latest price level is 58 pc higher than a year earlier and 114 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 €5.53/kg at the end of August 2015, i.e. 37 pc higher than a year earlier and 109 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, crossing the three-euro/kg barrier in the third week of January 2015. In the last few weeks they have risen to period highs and were lying at €3.54/kg by the end of August, +36 pc higher than the same period a season earlier.
Tunisia: Towards the end of December 2014, producers were being 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 again reached period highs and were lying at €4.13/kg by the end of August 2015, 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 €3.75/kg at the end of August 2015, up by 45 pc on the same period of the preceding crop year. In Italy prices stood at €3.93/kg at the end of August 2015, translating into a period-on-period increase of 60 pc. No price data are available for this product category in Greece.
At the end of August 2015, the price of refined olive oil (€3.75/kg) and extra virgin olive oil (€4.19/kg ) differed by €0.44/kg in Spain. In Italy, the difference in price between the two categories was considerably wider (€1.60/kg – Graph 3).