In March, all the alarms went off in the world of olive oil. It was selling more than normal and that, taking into account the oil available, meant that it was possible to reach October — before the new campaign arrived — with zero link.
That is, without oil reserves in the cellars.
And that was a terrible scenario. As we are talking about an annual product, the “link” is not only the cushion that ensures the supply, it is the mechanism that allows the price of the oil to be contained. And, mind you, it was March.
I emphasize this because in the following months the situation was not better. Month after month, olive oil shipments continued at a good pace and, despite the price increases, the zero link horizon was still there.
At the end of June, the situation on the olive oil market seemed dire. That month, according to data from the Food Information and Control Agency, more than 85,400 tons left and there was nothing to suggest that it would be contained.
What did this mean? That, if this rate of departures is maintained, some 360,000 tons would be needed before the new campaign arrives. The reserves (adding the reserves of the oil mills and the bottlers) were around 400,000. It is true that it was not necessary to rule out the arrival of imports that would add to these reserves, but it was enough to see the numbers to verify that the situation was critical.
Good news. After a stable month of July, August, according to these same data, closed with departures of 62,500 tons. That is, the outputs are contained. And, on the other hand, imports have been arriving little by little. In this way, the most updated data we have tells us about stocks of 321,183 tons.
What does this translate into? Basically, “the sector will begin the new harvest with storage volumes of around 250,000 tons, which together with an estimated harvest of around 700,000 would give us an available volume of 950,000 tons.” We would finally enter a difficult context, but the worst would have passed.
There is no need to claim victory. Especially because we don’t know how much rain will fall this fall and, although it seems that the campaign will be better than the previous one, we already see that it won’t be by much. A problematic autumn can leave us in a very complicated situation.
Additionally, there are many variables to take into account. Not only the weight of the bottlers in the pricing policy or the arrival of foreign companies (especially Italian importers), but also what is happening in Portugal, whose oil will enter the market first and will allow us to see what situation the market really is in. sector internationally.
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Image | Chema Concellón