Source AP ©

Christmas trees to be expensive in Europe

Fir growers say that Europeans will pay up to 20 percent more for their Christmas trees this year.

Early wholesale figures indicate a substantial prize hike compared to last year as demand for Christmas trees outpaces supply, said Kaj Oestergaard, manager of the Danish fir growers' association.

"The prices have gone up between 15 and 20 percent," Oestergaard said. "We haven't got the full picture yet but that is the trend."

The price hike "is good news for us because we are not losing money anymore," he said. "For years, it has been a bad business."

Denmark's roughly 4,000 growers fell about 9 million fir trees every year, of which about 85 percent are sold abroad, mostly to Germany, Britain and France.

The wholesale price for a Nordmann Fir, the most popular Christmas tree, ranges from 40 kroner (EUR5.40; US$7.70) to 300 kroner (EUR40 (US$57), depending on size and shape, Oestergaard said.

Denmark's relatively mild climate and soil composition have proven perfect for the slow-growing, symmetrical tree, which is native to the Caucasus mountains.

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