Olive oil supplies in Europe have almost run out with more shortages expected after extreme weather hit harvests for a second year, The Guardian reported.

Europe – the world’s largest producer – has said it is having to import supplies from South America to keep up with demand, according to the 28 September report.

“Today it is almost physically impossible to buy olive oil. It is sold out,” Walter Zanre, chief executive of the UK arm of olive oil company Filippo Berio, was quoted as saying.

According to the International Olive Council, global olive oil production is expected to fall to 2.4M tonnes, less than last year’s harvest and well below worldwide demand of about 3M tonnes, after drought and heatwaves hit production in leading producer Spain.

Extreme weather in other important growing regions including Greece, Italy and Portugal as well as Turkey and Morocco had added to the crisis, The Guardian wrote.

Zanre said the company still had stock to meet its delivery demands but had been forced to import olive oil from Chile to cover the gap before the arrival of this year’s harvest, which begins in October, as wholesale supplies ran dry across Europe.

The year’s harvest was well below the size of typical crops, with Spain expected to produce 750,000 tonnes – more than the 660,000 tonnes produced in last year’s poor harvest but well below volumes over recent years of around 1.3M tonnes, the report said.

Farmers have said their incomes had taken a hit as poor crops combined with rising energy and labour costs, The Guardian wrote.

Greece is expected to produce only 200,000 tonnes this year, a third less than last year due to extreme heat and problems with fruit fly infestations, according to the report.

Manolis Yiannoulis, the head of the Greek interprofessional olive oil association, said consumers were seeing price increases of “more than 100%”.

“We’re looking at production rates being cut by half this year,” Yiannoulis was quoted as saying. “The imbalance in demand and supply has already led to very big price increases.”

Manufacturers hold only around 115,000 tonnes of available olive oil stock in Spain, according to analysts at commodities data group Mintec, against monthly usage of about 60,000 tonnes.

“Should this pace of depletion persist, market insiders warn that olive oil supplies could be exhausted before the arrival of fresh harvests, which traditionally commence in Spain around October,” Kyle Holland, edible oils analyst at Mintec, was quoted as saying.

Fears about shortages had pushed up wholesale prices with, for example, the cost of extra virgin olive oil from Andalusia, in southern Spain, rising to €8.45/kg (US$8.89/kg) in September, more than double last year’s price and the highest ever recorded for Spain based on price data over more than 20 years, The Guardian wrote.

The situation has prompted a 47% rise in retail prices at major supermarkets in the UK, according to analysts at Assosia.

Italy’s expectations of producing up to 350,000 tonnes had also been hit by extreme weather, the report said.

Against this backdrop, Tunisia, Turkey and Syria had recently halted olive oil exports in a bid to control price rises, The Guardian wrote.