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Food exports fell 1.3 percent to $175.8 million in the first quarter, bringing an end to three years of growth, the Manufacturers Association of Israel said Monday. The drop - compounded by a 5.1% rise in food imports against the first quarter of 2005 - contributed to a 25.4% expansion of the trade deficit, which came to $139.8m.
The drop was led by a 28% slide in exports of both cookies and pastries and meat and poultry products, while exports of chocolate products fell 25% and exports of alcoholic drinks, soft drinks and tobacco products fell 16%. These drops were largely offset by rises in exports of processed fruits and vegetable products (12%), dairy products (4.2%) and matzot (25.4%).