Export sales of matzot are expected to fall by 5 percent to 10% this year as a result of the global economic crisis, after rising 31% in 2008, the Israel Export Institute reported Monday. Last year, export sales of Matzot rose 31% year-on-year and were worth $12 million, mainly led by sales to the US, which made up 57% of the total sales volume. "The increase of matza sales to the US in 2008 can be explained by the fact that the orders were closed before the crisis deepened," Israel Export Institute director Avi Hefetz said Monday in an e-mailed statement. "Jewish communities in the US, who in previous years tended to celebrate Pessah in hotels, are this year expected to celebrate in private homes." Hotels tend to purchase matzot from local manufacturers, while individuals prefer to buy ones made in Israel, he said. Also, orders for this holiday were placed before the severity of the economic crisis heightened, Hefetz said. Israel exports matzot to 40 countries. Last year, sales to the US made up 57% of the total volume, sales to Italy generated 10%, sales to the UK, France and Belgium made up 5% each, and Canada and Australia each generated 3%. Matzot sales to North America rose 45% to $7.1m. last year, sales to European Union countries increased 21% to $3.3m., while sales to Asia fell 17% to $68,000 and sales to Africa were down 73% to $154,000. Bloomberg contributed to this report.