VALENTINES ADDING TO OUR TRADE DEFICIT

THERE are no excuses for disappointing Valentines dates this evening who fail to produce a plush dozen roses: rose deliveries to the UK this year are at record highs.

Virgin Atlantic’s cargo division has reported a 40 per cent increase in the volume of flower deliveries to the UK from Kenya, our main supplier of roses, compared to the same period last year.

That equates to 15 tonnes of flowers shipped over in just the last ten days, with Kenyan roses making up a third of the blooms you’ll see sold and bought this Valentines.

Japan and the US have likewise upped their rose consumption. And while Kenyan roses remain ever-popular, Brits also seem to be looking for an original way to greet their dates: imports of South African chrysanthemums and American carnations have also been on the rise.

But to add a grim dose of guilt to your romantic pleasures, Lake Naivasha, the fresh-water lake in Kenya that supplies much of the irrigation for many of the country’s rose plantations, has been so depleted by failed rains recently that the country is considering rationing water use. Which would make your dozen roses another data-point in the scourge of global commodity price inflation.

BEND IT LIKE HOLMES
Financial education and football are rarely associated with one another, but yesterday Standard Chartered attempted to form a beautiful relationship between the two at its London Football Clinic. Ex-Liverpool striker Ian Rush joined Standard Chartered’s Richard Holmes for a training session with local and visually impaired children, who were then given a lesson in personal finance, incorporating a football theme.

At this rate it’ll only be a matter of time before Wayne Rooney is offering stock tips.