Australian wine exports slumbed for the first time in fifteen years, reports The Australian. Last year Australia exported eleven percent less measured by volume and eighteen percent less measured by value. Reasons for the decline are the global financial crisis, the increasing competition from other countries and currency fluctuations. Britain, one of the most important wine markets for the Australians, also increased the VAT rate on wine, leading to a sharp drop in sales (minus ten percent in volume and eighteen percent in value). In the United States sales fell by more than five percent in volume and more than 26 percent in value. Better news comes from China, which last year imported 32 percent more Australian wine compared to 2007. China is already the fifth most important market for Australian wine.