The olive sector start the new year keeping the market trends that characterized the end of 2023: the price of extra virgin olive oil in Italy, in fact, it continues to remain high, with peaks of 10.50 Eu/Kg for quality oils suitable for export. This is what was revealed by theCertified Origins Observatory, one of the main producers and distributors of certified extra virgin olive oil (IGP and DOP), single-origin and blend oils, which offers a monthly overview of the main markets. This trend is due to low oil reserves and to the incessant ddemand from export markets, despite a slow contraction in domestic consumption in some Mediterranean countries. “One of the main factors of the olive oil crisis, and among the major causes of the increase in prices, is certainly theeffect of extreme climatic events that we are facing,” he observes Giovanni Quaratesi, Head of Corporate Global Affairs at Certified Origins. “Our supply chain is called upon to find solutions that will have to look at the sector at 360°, starting from the trees, whose survival and health play a key role”.
The Mediterranean producing countries are still deeply affected by the prolonged situation of Droughtespecially in Spainwhere in the area ofAndalusia water reserves are currently at 22% (in 2023 they were at 29%) and well below the average levels of the last 10 years (51%). Historically the market has maintained a certain gap between the wholesale cost of Italian and Spanish olive oil, with Italian oil positioned higher, mainly due to the greater volumes of production coming from the Iberian countryside, compared to the volumes coming from from the oil mills of the Italian peninsula. Today this gap has been drastically reduced by the market, due to two consecutive harvests in Spain that were well below average.
In February 2024 the price of Iberian extra virgin olive oil is firmly positioned between 9.00-10.00 Eu/Kg, close to the Italian one. In Italy the market reported in January some transactions around 9 Eu/Kg for conventional Extra Virgin but also some peaks above 10 Eu/Kg. The month of February will be useful to determine whether the trend will reverse and we will begin to notice a drop in price for one of the most appreciated and valued origins on foreign markets.
Among other Mediterranean producers, alsooil of Greek and Portuguese origin they stand at around 9.50-10.00 Eu/Kg while the “least” expensive remains that Tunisian with prices between 8.00-9.00 Eu/Kg. “As regards short-term prices – continues Quaratesi – in spring with the flowering of the olive groves we will have a first idea of the potential of the next campaign’s harvest and the future positioning of the market. However, we do not expect a return to pre-crisis prices in the short and medium term, which will require excellent production years.”