French Agricultural Exports Down But Luxury Products Booming

on Jun 3, 2012
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On 11 May 2012, Bloomberg wrote about the recently published May 2012 report of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing indicating that the country’s farm and food exports declined for a second month in March 2012, mostly on account of a drop in grain shipments.

France’s agricultural and food exports, which are the fifth-largest in the world in terms of value, slipped with 3.6 percent in March, with the Ministry of Agriculture report indicating that exports of farm and food products fell to €5.25 billion from €5.45 billion a year earlier. The March 2012 result was preceded by another drop in February which was the first annual slide since January 2010, as pointed out in the Bloomberg article. The overall decline observed in France’s agricultural and food exports is contributed mostly to a decline in grain exports, especially considering that the report showed an increase in shipments of some other food and agricultural products.

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More precisely, France’s grain shipments, with the exception of rice, fell to €749 million, relative to €963 million reported in March the previous year. This trend, however, does not apply to all products from the agricultural sector; exports of oilseed and protein crops for instance rose to €150 million from €144 million.!m[](/uploads/story/26/thumbs/froggy_food_inline.png)

Despite the report’s results, according to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), France happens to be the largest producer of farm products in the European Union and the third in value of agricultural exports, after Germany and the Netherlands. In addition, farm products and food contributed a €1.19 billion surplus to France’s current account in March.

As for the present results, they are mostly due to a very strong decline of sales of grains. According to the French Agricultural Ministry report, the strongest decline concerns shipments of grains to non-EU countries, namely Morocco and Algeria.
The report showed that the value of exports of soft-wheat products fell with 37 percent due to lower prices and fewer shipments to Morocco, whereas durum-wheat exports dropped with as much as 53 percent on account of lower demand from Algeria. Corn exports, on the other hand, climbed with 28 percent on deliveries to other EU Member States, namely Spain, the Netherlands and the UK, thus indicating that while there is a decline in grain exports to third countries, this is not the case with exports to other EU Member States.

And while France’s grain shipments to non-EU countries significantly dropped during the reported period, wine and champagne shipments rose to €635 million from €631 million. This positive trend applies to France’s beverage exports in general, as the Ministry report points out that beverage exports advanced to €1.11 billion from €1.09 billion due mostly to spirits demand from China.
In terms of farm and food imports, Bloomberg notes that the Ministry report signalled a decline, with imports of agricultural goods and food in March 2012 falling to €4.07 billion as compared with €4.17 billion reported the same month a year earlier.

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