Why olive oil prices are skyrocketing

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The price of crude may have hit a five-year low, but there is one oil that is skyrocketing in value.

Olive oil prices have jumped by a third after a weaker-than-expected olive harvest in parts of Italy, France, Portugal and Spain. The crop is down 35 percent in Italy, with newspaper La Repubblica calling it “The black year of Italian olive oil.”

The European olive harvest is getting whacked by a perfect storm of anti-olive weather: High temperatures in the spring, a cool summer and a lot of rain. Those also happen to be perfect conditions for the devastating olive fly and olive moth, The Associated Press reports. The olive fly burrows into an olive and lays its eggs inside, and the maggots tunnel out of the fruit, eating as they go.

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“This is the worst year in memory,” the head of an Italian olive growers’ group told the news service. A leading olive oil supplier told The Grocer trade magazine that this is “the most difficult year I have ever seen.”

One Italian olive grower is estimating that the price of oil there will rise to about 10 euro per liter, or about $47 per gallon.

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