French January Farm and Food Exports Jumped 8.4% on Wine, Cognac

The value of France’s farm and food exports, the world’s fifth-biggest, jumped 8.4 percent in January on U.S. and Asian demand for wine and cognac.

Exports of farm products and food rose to 4.43 billion euros ($5.8 billion) from 4.08 billion euros a year earlier, the Agriculture Ministry said in an online report today.

France is the European Union’s largest farm producer and in the 27-nation bloc trails the Netherlands and Germany in the value of agricultural exports, World Trade Organization data show. Farm products and food contributed a 757 million-euro surplus to France’s current account in January.

“Wine and cognac continue to drive the exports,” the ministry wrote. “The increase in exports of wine, champagne and alcohols is picking up after the slight decline in December.”

Beverage shipments rose to 828 million euros from 725 million euros in January 2011, the ministry reported. French makers of wine and cognac include LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA and Pernod Ricard SA.

Exports of bovines rose to 130 million euros from 113 million euros, lifted by demand from Turkey, according to the ministry. Cereal shipments fell to 555 million euros from 576 million euros as Morocco and Egypt bought less wheat, it said.

The country imported 3.67 billion euros of agricultural goods and food in the month, compared with 3.42 billion euros in January 2011, the ministry said.

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