* August surplus up more than 25 pct on previous year
* Surging alcohol and rebounding grain exports help
By Sybille de La Hamaide
PARIS, Oct 11 France's food trade surplus
reached nearly 1 billion euro ($1.3 billion) in August, up more
than 25 percent year-on-year, mainly boosted by wine and spirit
and grain exports, the farm ministry said on Thursday.
France's raw and processed food trade surplus, one of the
few positive contributors to the country's balance, was at 967
million euros ($1.25 billion) in August, against a surplus of
842 million euros in July, down 2.5 percent year-on-year.
On Tuesday data showed that the country's overall deficit
had widened in August, mainly due a sharp, energy-driven jump in
"The surplus in farm commodities rose after several months
of decline," the ministry said. "Over the first eight months of
the year, the surplus reached 7 billion euros ($9 billion), up
132 million compared to the same period in 2011."
The trade balance in processed foods continued to rise
rapidly with wine, champagne, cognac and sugar the main leaders,
while exports of raw commodities such as grains picked up.
France's food and farm trade balance was mainly boosted by
exports outside the European Union, up 14 percent year-on-year,
while trade amounts within the bloc were nearly unchanged.
Alcohol sales continued to rise with French wine and
champagne trade showing a surplus of 4.4 billion euros in the
eight months to August, up 14 percent on year, while spirits and
liquors were up 27 percent from August last year at 1.7 billion
euros, the farm ministry data showed.
Heavy demand for liquor helped French spirits group Remy
Cointreau beat forecasts in first-quarter sales.
World grain prices surged in the past year after drought
damaged crops on the U.S. plains, the Black Sea region and more
recently Australia, which helped French grain sales.
The ministry also referred to hefty sales of French barley
to Saudi Arabia, an unusual move prompted by the poor crop in
Ukraine that opened the door to European exports.
($1 = 0.7726 euros)
(Editing by Keiron Henderson)