World olive oil output seen as up 10 percent for 2007/08

MADRID (Reuters) – World olive oil production is likely to grow at least 10 percent in the coming crop year, after an already strong year in 2006/07, the International Olive Council (IOC) said yesterday. In the current crop year, which ends on September 30, output could reach 3 million tons, up from 2.6 million tons the year before. For 2007/08 that is likely to be 3.3-3.4 million tons, according to the IOC, which represents major producing countries. Spain is easily the world’s biggest grower, accounting for about a third of the total, followed by Italy and Greece. Further behind come Turkey, Tunisia and Syria. «There’s been plenty of rain this year in most oil-producing countries and this next crop year, 2007-08, will be better than previous ones,» the IOC’s executive director, Habib Essid, told a news conference. In January, the Madrid-based IOC gave a crop forecast for 2006/07 of 2.82 million tons, rising to 3 million for 2007/08. Consumption worldwide is rising and the market is now well balanced in terms of supply and demand, he said. The IOC is actively promoting olive oil in India and China, which it sees as large potential markets. Prices are likely to stay in line with the current level of -2.2 to -2.3 a kilo of extra virgin category oil, thanks to rising exports which will absorb the bigger harvest, Essid said.

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