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Flower prices spike as cold weather stems supply

By LI YINGQING in Kunming and QIU QUANLIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-02-15 09:33

People select flowers at Dounan market in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Sunday. YANG ZHENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

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 fresh cut flower price index started to increase on Feb 3 and peaked at 1,116.75 on Thursday, the Kunming International Flora Auction Trading Center said.

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.

Duan Xiaoyu, 28, was picking up red roses for his girlfriend at the Dounan market on Monday morning.

"It (the flower price) was so high. But it is worth buying a bunch of flowers for my girlfriend on such a special day," said Duan, a fitness coach.

Nan Zisheng, who has been selling flowers for six years, said the prices at Dounan before this year's "double festival"-Valentine's Day and the Lantern Festival-were the highest in several years.

"Consumers want to buy flowers at a low price, but we florists buy flowers at a high price. We are worried that we can't sell them all after the festivals," Nan said.

Chen Meihui, a dealer who specializes in roses, echoed Nan's concerns.

"It was the highest price of roses in the last 10 years," she said.

Chen added it's the second time she has experienced a sharp rise in flower prices since she started working as a dealer 15 years ago. "It was not only because of the effect of the double festivals," she said.

A delayed harvest due to Spring Festival, low temperatures and cloudy skies during winter led to a longer flower growth cycle and a supply shortage, Chen said.

"Farmers are reluctant to pick many flowers, as the weather this year is too cold to grow more," she said.

Chen said prices will not fall until temperatures start rising next month.

The trade volume at the Kunming International Flora Auction Center began to decline on Sunday, with 2.71 million stems of flowers sold to dealers, according to sources at the center.

The center attributed the drop to a significant decline in flower supply.

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