Bloomberg News

French Farm Exports Decline for a Second Month on Grain Slump

May 11, 2012

France’s farm and food exports, the world’s fifth-biggest by value, declined for a second month in March, slipping 3.6 percent as grain shipments dropped.

Exports of farm products and food fell to 5.25 billion euros ($6.8 billion) from 5.45 billion euros a year earlier, the Agriculture Ministry said in an online report today. February’s drop was the first annual slide since January 2010.

France is the largest European Union farm producer and in the 27-nation bloc trails only the Netherlands and Germany in value of agricultural exports, World Trade Organization data show. Farm products and food contributed a 1.19 billion-euro surplus to France’s current account in March.

“Sales of grains are in very strong decline, especially on the destination Morocco,” the ministry said.

France’s grain shipments excluding rice fell to 749 million euros from 963 million euros in March last year, the ministry reported. Oilseed and protein-crop exports rose to 150 million euros from 144 million euros.

The value of soft-wheat exports fell 37 percent on fewer shipments to Morocco and falling prices, while durum-wheat exports dropped 53 percent on lower demand from Algeria, the ministry wrote. Corn exports climbed 28 percent on deliveries to the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K., the report showed.

Wine and champagne shipments rose to 635 million euros from 631 million euros, while overall beverage exports advanced to 1.11 billion euros from 1.09 billion euros, helped by demand for spirits from China, according to the ministry.

France imported 4.07 billion euros of agricultural goods and food in the month, compared with 4.17 billion euros in March 2011, the ministry said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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