Total export turnover for first half of 2015: € 3.1 billion

Netherlands: Export value of flowers and plants increases by 3%

The value of exports of flowers and plants from the Netherlands has increased in the first half this year by over 3% compared to 2014 to € 3.1 billion. A strong sales increase of 15% in June has contributed significantly to this. The growth in cut flowers remains greater than that in plants. The low exchange rate of the euro has stimulated exports to non-euro countries. Recovery in the Russian market remains difficult, southern Europe has partially increased again. Exporters expect further growth in the second half of this year.

So reports the VGB. Due to consistent demand, cut flowers experienced a growth in June of 11% to € 261 million. The cumulative growth in flowers over the first half of the year continued to 6%, with a value of € 2 billion. Except in January, cut flower exports increased in every month this year. For the first time, there was an increase in the pot and bedding plants this year: in June + 17% to € 182 million. Therefore, the deficit decreased to -3% on an export turnover of € 1.1 billion, the increase in June was still not sufficient. Commercial director Peter Janmaat from retail specialist Celieplant: ''The bedding plant season went fairly well and could be extended nicely in June." There were two extra export days compared to June last year.

Low euro exchange rate 
In the Euro Zone, the top 10 customers of flowers and plants from the Netherlands, who have a market share of 82%, showed little growth. The decreases in Germany (-4.4% to € 935 million), Belgium (-1% to € 128 million) and the remarkably large decrease in Austria (-19% to € 73 million, particularly in recent months) were not compensated by the increases in France (+ 14% to € 398 million) and Italy (+ 5.6% to € 142 million). In the non-euro countries, in the top 10 was the decline in Russia (-25% to € 102 million), however this was more than offset mainly by the UK (+ 18% to € 507 million) and Poland (+ 11.5% to € 107 million) and to a lesser extent by Switzerland (+ 3.9% to € 103 million) and Sweden (+ 1.6% to € 90 million). The non-euro countries in the top 10 accounted for a total growth of 7%. In the more than 100 countries outside the top 10, Dutch exporters achieved an average growth of almost 9%. In the top 10, the euro countries saw a growth of 3% up to June 2014, in the non-euro countries, half of them increased and the export sales to other countries shrank by 3%. ''Distribution of exports for the Dutch sector has always been very important,'' emphasizes commercial director Gert-Jan Schoneveld from Hilverda De Boer. ''That's why we are always investing more and more in even more diversification,'' adds director Hein Schreurs of Premier & Blenheim. 

Schoneveld has moderate optimism for the second half of the year. 'Emerging markets can make up for losses in other markets. In the averages, we see a stabilization, the occasional large fluctuations are tricky to explain.'' Janmaat is more optimistic for the second half of this year and the start of 2016. ''In the supermarket channel, we are growing faster than the market average in both flowers and plants. The shift from wholesale to retail is still ongoing. Therefore we buy almost 100% directly from the growers and the working relationship with them is getting better. It also offers possibilities for market expansion,'' is his vision. Illustrative of this is the growth in England, but this has also been propped up by the high exchange rate of the British pound. Most of the flowers and plants from the number two customer of flowers and plants from the Netherlands are sold through the retail channel. Also, the growth in France is attributed to the retail market, in connection with the decline in the local production. ''French floriculture and traders lack the organizational capacity to respond to the retail market. The Netherlands can do that, due to their flexible logistics, the availability of a broad and detailed range and the development of new concepts,'' the VGB reports on the basis of a market expert.

After three months with a slight fall in revenue of around 15%, the Russian market decreased by 26% in June to a total of € 100 million. A year ago, Russia was fourth in the rankings, in 2013 in the first half of the year, there was a turnover of € 150 million. Now, it is in eighth place with a decline of 25% on the previous year. Schreurs does not expect the current decline in Russia to turn into a stabilization for the time being. "That requires the finding of new markets, together with intensifying existing contacts and continuing to develop new concepts.'' In Eastern Europe, according to Schoneveld, in addition to Poland, Hungary is also an example of a growing market. In the Southern European markets, Italy seems to be showing a structural recovery, with a growth of 5.6% to € 142 million.

The growth of nearly 15% to € 442 last month is a record in the history of Dutch flower and plant exports, which in June 2012 was surpassed by 8%. According to the VGB, the second quarter of this year is the fifth consecutive quarter in which export growth was achieved: + 3.7% to € 1.6 billion.

Source: VGB

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