Dutch Flower Exports Slip 3.9% in May on ‘Extremely Cold’ Spring

The Netherlands’ flower and plant exports, the world’s biggest, fell 3.9 percent in May as a cold spring in parts of Europe hurt spending on garden plants.

Exports fell to 612.7 million euros ($817.6 million) last month from 637.5 million euros in May 2012, the Aalsmeer, Netherlands-based Dutch Agricultural Wholesale Board for Flowers and Plants wrote in an online report today.

Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, had its second-wettest May in 132 years, weather office Deutscher Wetterdienst reported. In France, May was an average 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) colder than usual and 44 percent more rainy, the Paris-based Agriculture Ministry said.

“The extremely long, cold spring in large parts of Europe put a damper on sales of particularly garden plants,” the Dutch board wrote. “That was on top of the effects of the economic crisis, which means consumers have less to spend.”

Shipments to Germany, the biggest client for Dutch flowers and plants, dropped 6.5 percent to 195.6 million euros, while exports to France fell 6.7 percent to 77.6 million euros.

While shipments to northwest Europe may still show “limited growth” this year, exports to southern Europe are expected to continue to slide, with “not much view of recovery,” the flower and plant board said.

Spain’s imports of Dutch greenery and blooms slumped 25 percent to 5.87 million euros last month, while Greek purchases fell 22 percent to 1.62 million euros. Shipments to Italy declined 9.1 percent to 27.3 million euros.

Exports of flowers and plants in the first five months of 2013 dropped 2.6 percent to 2.62 billion euros, according to the report. The Netherlands’ exports of flowers and plants rose to 5.39 billion euros last year from 5.24 billion euros in 2011.

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