Dutch Flower Exports Fall a Fifth Quarter, Worst Run on Record

The Netherlands’ flower and plant exports, the world’s biggest, extended a string of quarterly drops to the worst on record with a fifth straight slide as weak European consumer confidence hurts spending.

Third-quarter shipments fell 3 percent to 1.06 billion euros ($1.4 billion) from 1.1 billion euros a year earlier, data published today by the Aalsmeer, Netherlands-based Dutch Agricultural Wholesale Board for Flowers and Plants showed. Shipments rose 2.2 percent in September, ending a record six-month streak of declines.

Demand for Dutch blooms and potted plants suffered from lower consumer confidence in European countries including leading export destination Germany, according to the board. It also cited a colder-than-usual spring followed by a warm summer.

“It looks very likely we’ll have to add 2013 to 2008 and 2009 as a year with falling export value of flowers and plants,” Tom Bijleveld, the board’s director, was cited as saying. That would be the third annual decline in 60 years, he said.

Dutch exports of greenery to Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece slid 13 percent this year on average, the board said.

Flower and plant shipments in the first nine months of 2013 dropped 3.4 percent from a year earlier to 4.05 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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