There will be no shortage of extra virgin olive oil on international markets and enthusiastic consumers but it will be more expensive than last year – albeit while not reaching the peak prices seen in 2018.
Italian extra virgin olive oil will ensure excellent quality because the climate - and its ups and downs for olive growers this season - may have limited production through hot, dry spells but colder temperatures in September and October also reduced the attacks by olive flies that scourged olive groves in 2018.
In general, Italy is facing a difficult olive year, lust like Greece and Portugal in Europe, with production down by 30% and more. The harvest is also proving to be poor for Tunisia, which after last year's output of 400,000 tonnes is seeing production fall back to 150,000. This is why there will not be very much Tunisian olive oil on international markets with the consequence that prices will be revised upwards on all the main markets.
Prices in Spain should be closer to production costs, while safeguarding shelf prices - the real driving force behind the boom for Spanish olive oil.
The situation in the United States is unclear. The 25% import duty applied by Trump continues to impact Spanish olive oil and, given the setback for Tunisian oil, an increase in shelf prices in the US may well lead to a reduction in consumption of extra virgin olive oil. This would be for the first time in more than 30 years. Hopes are higher, on the other hand, in Asia, where consumption is growing, especially in Japan and South Korea.
[Source: Teatro Naturale]