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French Farm Exports Fell in September on Grain Shipments

France’s farm and food exports, the world’s fifth-biggest by value, fell for the first time in four months in September as shipments of grain declined.

Exports fell 4.3 percent to 4.69 billion euros ($6 billion) from 4.9 billion euros a year earlier, the Agriculture Ministry wrote in an online report today. Grain shipments dropped on lower volumes of soft wheat and corn, it said.

France is the European Union’s biggest grain exporter. The country had a current-account surplus of 11.6 billion euros in farm products and food trade last year, the highest since at least 1995, according to the ministry’s data.

“Exports to the EU are down for all products, while toward third countries, the sales of beverages maintained their growth,” the ministry wrote. “Exports of soft wheat dropped by 99 million euros and those of corn by 14 million euros.”

Farm products and food contributed to a current-account surplus of 1.01 billion euros in September, dropping from 1.08 billion euros in the year-earlier month.

France’s grain exports excluding rice fell to 515 million euros from 576 million euros, the data showed. Soft-wheat cargoes to Algeria, Libya and Yemen dropped, the ministry said. Oilseed and protein-crop sales fell to 96 million euros from 123 million euros.

Wine and champagne shipments rose to 676 million euros from 668 million euros. Total beverage exports gained to 1.23 billion euros from 1.17 million, the report showed.

France imported 3.68 billion euros of agricultural goods and food in September from 3.82 billion euros a year earlier, the ministry said.

Food and farm exports increased to 42.2 billion euros in the first nine months of 2012 from 41.6 billion euros a year earlier, while the current-account surplus widened to 8.02 billion euros from 7.95 billion euros.

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