Monday, December 10, 2007

Chinese Demand Sends Christmas Tree Prices Soaring

You can probably tell, reality intruded today. I feel as though I'm running a cross between The Onion and a "Headlines you won't see anywhere else" aggregator.

From Der Spiegel:

A combination of rising Chinese demand and the biofuel boom is pushing up Christmas tree prices in Germany. Producers say they just can't keep up with demand from Asia's economic giant.

The Christmas tree may be a quintessential symbol of Christmas, but it's also a natural resource. And, like other natural resources, it is subject to market forces -- forces which are pushing up prices in Germany.

According to the German timber industry's umbrella organization, the HDH, demand for Christmas trees is rising due to increasing exports and the growing number of single-person households. Meanwhile the supply of trees has decreased because several thousand hectares of tree plantations in Germany have been given over to more profitable uses, such as lucrative biofuel crops.

The Nordmann fir is proving particularly popular with the export market. The airline Lufthansa is already flying trees to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while freshly felled trees are being transported in refrigerated containers to China. A Christmas tree decked out in the American style has become a status symbol in China, and many retail stores there are adopting the tradition....MORE

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