The IEICI data also reveal that matzah exports from December 2010 to January 2011 – the main export months ahead of Passover – totaled $6.7 million, a 20% drop compared to the same period last year.
The two main reasons for the decline in matzah exports are the global increase in prices of raw materials for food and the US dollar's low exchange rate.
"The decline stems mainly from a 31% drop in matzah exports to the United States, which makes up 56% of the matzah exports to the world," says IEICI CEO Avi Hefetz. "The increase in flour prices and the dollar's depreciation have affected the volumes of matzah exports to the US and to the entire world."
Even Indonesia importing matzot
According to IEICI figures, matzah exports to the US totaled some $7 million last year. Matzah exports to the European Union, on the other hand, grew by about 11% in 2010, totaling $3.7 million.
The Israeli matzah is sold in 57 countries, including the US, Italy, Britain, France, Belgium Canada, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Switzerland, Mexico, Austria, Holland, Uruguay, Romania, Venezuela, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Sweden, Ukraine, Greece, Spain, South Korea, New Zealand, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Denmark, Poland, Finland, Estonia, India, Kenya, China, Thailand, Singapore, and even Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Israeli matzah manufacturers export light matzot, "matzah shmura" (unleavened bread made of special wheat), whole-wheat matzot, organic matzot, rye matzot, bran matzot, egg matzot, chocolate and honey-covered matzot, round matzot and handmade matzot.
Wine makes glad the heart of man
Meanwhile, a decline is also seen in the import of wine and alcoholic beverages to Israel.
According to figures released by the Chamber of Commerce, the sales of alcoholic beverages is expected to total some NIS 285 million ($82 million) ahead of Passover, a 5% drop compared to last year's sales. The sales of alcoholic beverages on the Jewish New Year and Passover make up some 35% of the annual sales.
The drop in the financial volume of alcohol sales took place although the consumption of wine – the number of bottles sold – actually went up by 5% compared to last Passover. The rise in wine consumption is not expressed in sales and profits due to a decline in the prices of imported bottles due to the dollar's depreciation against the shekel, and because Israelis are buying more Israeli kosher wine because of the higher taxation on alcohol.
"The alcoholic beverage market is still experiencing a significant turbulence following changes in taxation in 2010, which have increased all the prices in the industry way beyond the regular inflation," explains The Scottish CEO Dan Leeor.
"Israeli wineries have launched new varieties of grapes like pinot noir and zinfandel, which make the Israeli wine more attractive," adds Dov Feituch, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce's alcoholic beverage importers division. "The price of local wine ranges today between NIS 25-35 ($7-10) per bottle, while the imported wines still cost between NIS 70-80 ($20-23)."
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