Wholesale olive oil prices are beginning to abate in Greece over the recent period, ending an early-season surge that had scared consumers with forecasts of up to 20 euros per liter on supermarket shelves.

Olive oil is considered as a mainstay cooking oil in the east Mediterranean country of 11 million residents, which also features one of the world’s highest consumptions per capita.

However, the latest transactions have wholesalers buying the oil from producers at 7.5 to 7.8 euros per kilo.

The availability of quantities from the new 2023 harvest, in tandem with shrinking demand – due to consumers’ wariness – ended the previously uninterrupted surge in trading rates and retail prices.

According to market analysts, however, producers are also storing new harvest quantities in anticipation of higher prices. Market watchers said supermarket sales of olive oil in Greece fell from 25,000 tons to 18,000 tons over the recent period.

Worldwide, consumption has declined by some 40 percent, with Spain, the long-time global leader in production, recording a decline in demand by 17 percent.

Sector representatives told Ot.gr this week that prices this season began at 8.5 to 9 euros per kilo, although lower production still means higher rates for the extra virgin variety. Prices reached 9.2 euros per kilo last month, with the last sale between a cooperative of producers and a wholesale bottler falling to 7.7 euros per kilo.