French vineyards alert of possible frost damage

French vineyards alert of possible frost damage

Temperatures continue to drop across France as more winemakers report concerns of frost damage in the vineyards.

The Inter Rhône trade body reported that the whole of the Rhône has been hit dramatically and that ‘some plots are affected 100%.’

‘We already know that some sectors have been affected in their entirety,’ said Philippe Pellaton, President of Inter-Rhône.

‘We will not be able to measure the real impact of this frost episode until the next 24 to 48 hours’.

The French council for appellation wines (CNIV) are concerned the worst is not yet over, stating that ‘temperatures have dropped to -7 ° C in places and further episodes of frost are to be feared in the days to come.’

‘It is still too early to know precisely the extent of the damage, but 80% of regions have been affected’, said Jean-Marie Barillère, President of the CNIV.

April 8th Frost

 There were growing fears that frost may have caused significant damage to French vineyards in several regions this week. 

Many winemakers have lit candles and controlled fires next to rows of vines in order to help protect the emerging 2021 crop from a sudden drop in temperatures. Aerial photos on social media showed hundreds of candles lit across vineyards.

Some producers also launched helicopters to fly above their vineyards, a method that can help to prevent frost by encouraging warm air to circulate. 

There were particular concerns on Thursday (8 April) about vineyards in Bordeaux and Burgundy, although winemakers cautioned that the full picture was still unclear.

Bordeaux’s regional wine council, the CIVB, said damage was still being assessed but that ‘it is already certain that this spring frost will severely impact the volume of the 2021 harvest’.

‘Bourgogne winegrowers did what they could to fight, but each period of frost was too long and the temperatures were too low. Nature has been stronger than us.’

Source: Decanter

France forecasts economic growth of 5% in 2021

France forecasts economic growth of 5% in 2021

France expected to see a growth in the economy in the next months, with a growth forecast of 5% despite the lockdown.

The French economy will expand by 5 percent in 2021, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a newspaper interview.

As a third lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic has prompted a downward revision in the previous government forecast for 6 per cent growth.

The new forecast was prudent, Le Maire said in comments published on Sunday in Le Journal Du Dimanche (JDD).

“Our fundamentals are sound; we will be able to bounce back,” Le Maire said.

French schools and non-essential stores such as clothing chains will now be shut for four weeks, after COVID-19 cases surged in recent weeks, edging up the number of patients in intensive care units.

Bars and restaurants have already been closed for months, while tourist travel is at a standstill, although unlike when France entered its first national lockdown a year ago.

Construction work and manufacturing are among business areas still ticking over.

Like many countries in Europe, France has ploughed billions of euros into propping up struggling companies with state-backed loans.

Help with rents and partial unemployment schemes.

The latest restrictions will force about 150,000 businesses to temporarily close, and aid measures in April will cost €11 billion, the finance ministry has said.

Le Maire has repeatedly called for the European Union to accelerate the ratification and implementation of its €750 billion economic stimulus plan.

He told the JDD that France was now unlikely to get the €5 billion disbursement from that scheme in July as planned, due to delays.

France has its own 100 billion-euro economic reboot programme, and plans to spend roughly half of that budget by the end of the year, Le Maire said.

Source: Channel News Asia

French wine exports decline in 2020

French wine exports decline in 2020

French wine and spirits exports fell by 13.9% to just under €12.1bn in 2020, said the FEVS trade body on 11 February.

That means the value of orders fell back to 2016 levels, it said, citing US import tariffs and the economic fallout from the Covid-19 crisis as key factors.

‘One year ago we said it would be a difficult year,’ said César Giron, FEVS chairman. ‘Our expectations were exceeded.’ The group did, however, say that it expected the situation to improve in 2021.

Champagne exports fell by 20.5% in 2020, to just under €2.5bn, with volume down 17%, according to FEVS figures.

Exports of Bordeaux AOC wines fell by 13.9%, to around €1.8bn, although the decline in volume terms was around 3%.

France’s premier fizz wasn’t targeted by tariffs but the regional wine body, Comité Champagne, had already warned last summer of a ‘historic drop’ in shipments – due primarily to the Covid-19 impact.

French still wines have been at the sharp end of a long-running dispute between the EU and US over aerospace industry subsidies.

A 25% import tariff was imposed on still wines at 14% abv or below from France, Spain, Germany, and the UK in October 2019.

Dubbed the ‘Airbus taxes’, FEVS said the move wiped €400m off the value of American imports of French wines in 2020.

Things got worse in January 2021 when US trade officials expanded the tariffs to include French wines above 14%abv, and also grape-based spirits, like Cognac.

French exporters met with French prime minister Jean Castex on Monday to discuss the situation, he added.

‘In this extremely difficult environment, the French wine and spirits exporters found ways to preserve their positions and pave the way to the future and to the economic recovery that we all expect for 2021.’

Source: Decanter.

French soft wheat shipments decline

French soft wheat shipments decline

French soft wheat shipments outside the European Union in December fell from a season’s high the previous month as exports to China eased, according to a Reuters report based on Refinitiv data.

According to Refinitiv data, soft wheat exports to destinations outside the EU totaled 797,000 tons in December, the sixth month of the 2020-21 season. That was below the 877,000 tons recorded in November, although December’s total was still the second-largest so far this season.

China was the largest importer of French soft wheat outside the EU for a third straight month in December, accounting for 271,300 tons.

France has shipped more than 1 million tons of wheat to China since July. Some expect exports to reach 2 million tons during the whole season.

French soft wheat last expectations

Last November, the forecast for French soft wheat exports outside of EU countries was revised upward by FranceAgriMer.

In the previous June 11 report, FranceAgriMer projected non-EU exports from France this season to climb to 13.45 million tons from the 13.3 million estimated last month.

The projected exports for the 2019-20 season that ends on June 30, which would mark a record volume, would be 39.1% above 2018-19, FranceAgriMer’s cereal supply and demand data showed.

It marks the ninth straight month that FranceAgriMer has increased its non-EU export outlook for soft wheat. Last September, it forecast 11 million tons to be exported.

French exports have been boosted this season by supplies from a bumper 2019 harvest, reduced competition from top wheat exporter Russia, and strong demand from countries such as China and Morocco.

FranceAgriMer estimate for French soft wheat exports within the EU was 7.6 million tons, unchanged from the previous month.

Source: World of grain.

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French soft wheat exports forecast lower

French soft wheat exports in 2020-21 are forecasted lower due to weather.

French soft wheat exports outside of the EU are now estimated at 6.6 million tons, down from an initial projection of 7.75 million tons and 51% below a record 13.46 million tons in 2019-20.

FranceAgriMer has been anticipating a steep drop in exports in 2020-21 after France’s wheat crops fell by around a quarter this year due to adverse weather, Reuters said.

It’s estimated France would ship between 1.5 million and 2.5 million tons to Algeria, far below the 5 million tons in previous years.

Sales to China should reach 1 million tons, possibly up to 2 million if French wheat remains competitive and China has increasing needs for human and feed use, Reuters said.

Exports to Morocco, another traditional market for French wheat, were estimated at around 1 million tons while West Africa was seen importing between 1 million and 1.5 million tons of the grain.

Expected soft wheat exports to other EU countries and Britain in 2020-21 were revised down to 6.4 million tons.

Soft wheat stocks at the end of this season are now projected at 2.9 million tons, compared with an initial forecast of 2.6 million.

2019-20 French soft wheat estimates

France’s soft wheat exports outside of the E.U. are expected to increase 14% to a four-year high in the 2019-20 crop year, according to FranceAgriMer.

Exports of soft wheat are estimated at 11 million tons, the highest since 2015-16.

France had a rare shipment of wheat to China at the beginning of the season, and traders are hopeful French wheat will regain market share in West Africa and see extra demand from Morocco, which had a poor harvest.

However, competition from the Black Sea and possibly Argentina could cap exports.

Officials are estimating France has harvested its second-largest soft wheat crop on record. FranceAgriMer estimated the crop at 39.45 million tons, about 16% higher than last year’s total.

Within the E.U., French soft wheat exports are expected to increase by 14%. Domestic demand is expected to also increase due to a 21% rise in animal feed use.