There are major concerns regarding olive oil supplies until the new crop becomes available in November or December.

Italy and Greece have little oil remaining and Spain is exporting heavily to the former. Spanish suppliers think stocks will be exhausted by October and there will be no carryover to the new EU crop year commencing November 1 2003.

In Italy there has been very little rain since the start of the year and if the drought and high temperatures continue, the olive crop will be severely reduced. Greece is experiencing similar conditions and trade sources report that in both countries the olives are already withering and falling from the trees.

After this year’s poor crop, Spain is expecting a good harvest of possibly around 1.5 million tonnes. However, with no carryover and the low
crop expectations of Italy and Greece, it would appear that olive oil would continue to be in short supply for the whole of 2004.