The struggling economies of Southern Europe could face another blow in the coming months as the price of a key export – olive oil – is set to hit a 10-year low.

Spain, Italy and Greece are the largest producers of the Mediterranean staple, accounting for 70 per cent of the world's olive oil output. IMF figures show that this month, premium extra-virgin olive oil fell to £1,850 a ton, the lowest price since 2002, and almost half the 2005 price.

The dramatic drop in price was caused by a bumper crop this year in Spain. The price drop has been accompanied by a dip in consumption in Italy and Greece, as consumers choose cheaper varieties such as vegetable oil.