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Dutch January Flower Exports Stable; Sales to Spain, Italy Slip

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Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The Netherlands’ flower and plant exports, the world’s biggest, were little changed in January as increased sales to Germany compensated for a drop in shipments to the faltering economies in southern Europe.

Shipments were 392.9 million euros ($525.3 million) last month from 392 million euros in January last year, the Aalsmeer, Netherlands-based Dutch Agricultural Wholesale Board for Flowers and Plants wrote in an online report today.

Rising sales of greenery to Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, last year cushioned the effect of sliding plant and flower sales to Italy and Spain, where Europe’s debt crisis has hurt consumer confidence.

“Margins are under pressure,” Tom Bijleveld, the director of the flower and plant board, was cited as saying in the report. “Payment installments are being stretched, particularly in South Europe. That requires extra alertness and attention to credit management.”

Shipments to Germany, the biggest client for Dutch flowers and plants, rose 4.1 percent to 128 million euros, while those to the U.K. fell 3.6 percent to 51 million euros in January and exports to France fell 1.7 percent to 48.1 million euros.

Flower and plant sales to Italy, the fifth-biggest market for Dutch blooms, dropped 4.8 percent to 17.7 million euros. Monthly exports to Spain plunged 33 percent to 3.97 million euros, according to the product board.

The Netherlands’ exports of flowers and plants rose to 5.39 billion euros last year from 5.24 billion euros in 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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