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4 Mar, 2024 09:57

Price of major food staple spikes 50% in EU

Olive oil costs across the bloc have been on the rise since mid-2023, according to Eurostat
Price of major food staple spikes 50% in EU

Olive oil prices have skyrocketed across the EU over the past year amid unfavorable weather conditions, which have harmed harvests. According to data from Eurostat, the bloc’s statistics office, costs spiked by 50% in annual terms in January.

Prices rose steadily throughout the entire second half of 2023, with a 37% surge in August and a staggering 51% increase in November 2022.

By January, all member states reported spikes in the cost of the staple, with olive oil inflation especially high in southern European countries, where it is produced. The price in Portugal soared by 69.1% in January against last year, the largest increase across the bloc, followed by Greece with a 67% rise. In Spain, the world’s biggest olive oil producer and exporter, prices jumped by 62.9%.

The smallest increases were recorded in Romania (13%), Ireland (16%), and the Netherlands (18%).

Eurostat did not elaborate on the causes of the price spikes, but earlier media reports attributed them to unfavorable weather conditions in the region, including extreme heatwaves in olive oil producing nations such as Spain, which diminish harvests. Production in the country more than halved in the agricultural year of 2022-2023 to 675,000 tons, according to data from the Agriculture Ministry.

Officials in Spain expect output to remain below the average of 1 million tons in 2023-2024, which means that prices are likely to grow further. Industry experts have warned that price decreases are unlikely until at least 2025.

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