THE Muslim world's boycott of Danish products, provoked by caricatures of the prophet Mohammed published in Denmark, cost the country's businesses some +euro+134 million ($267m), just-released statistics showed.
The boycott began on January 20 over cartoons published in September 2005 by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and led Denmark's exports to fall by 15.5per cent between February and June, according to the national statistics institute.
Exports to Denmark's top trading partners in the Middle East were cut in half.
They totalled just over 5 billion Danish kroner ($1.34bn) as against six billion kroner for the same period in 2005.
``There is little doubt that this is a result of the caricatures crisis,'' the Ritzau news agency quoted head consultant Peter Thagesen of the country's industry federation, Dansk Industri, as saying.
``This is serious for the affected businesses,'' Thagesen added.
In particular, exports to Saudi Arabia, Denmark's number one client in the Muslim world, fell by 40per cent, while those to Iran, its third biggest Muslim market, fell by 47per cent.
Other countries who suddenly stopped importing Danish products included Libya (down 88per cent), Syria (41per cent), Sudan (55per cent) and Yemen (62per cent).
Food companies, especially those selling dairy products, such as Arla Foods, were the worst affected by the boycott, with their exports over the February to June period falling by 25.3per cent overall.
Exports of manufactured goods, less prominent on the consumer market, fell by 7.4per cent, the institute said.
The export statistics released on Friday do not tell the whole story of how much the boycott has cost Denmark, since they do not take into account service providers, transport companies, investments or goods produced locally by Danish firms, Dansk Industri noted.
The publication of the cartoons, first in Denmark and then elsewhere in Europe, led to a wave of protests around the Muslim world. AFP