China: Flower prices spike as cold weather hinders supply

Prices of flowers in Southwest China's Yunnan province, a major domestic supplier of flowers, rose dramatically ahead of Valentine's Day and the traditional Chinese Lantern Festival, according to dealers and sources at local flower markets.

"The price of fresh cut flowers has increased by as much as two and a half times over the same period last year," said Wang Shouhai, a manager at Kunming Dounan Agricultural Products Auction.

The vendor price for class-A roses reached a record high of 16.89 yuan ($2.66) per stem on Thursday, sources at the center said. Wang attributed the price hikes to increased demand across the country and insufficient supply due to low temperatures. "A growing number of cities have shown increasing demand for flowers after the Spring Festival holiday," he said.

The vendor price at the auction center was almost as high as the retail price last year, said Shang Cheng, a local flower dealer. Bunches of 99 red roses were selling for between 500 and 800 yuan at Kunming Dounan Flower Market-more than 200 yuan higher than last year-Shang said. Such bunches were reserved before Monday's Valentine's Day and the Lantern Festival, which falls on Tuesday, she said. "The demand has been very strong recently," Shang said.

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