Scotland business

Sharp fall in Scottish exports

bottling plant
Although Scottish food and drink exports fell in the spring they rose over the year

Scotland's exports fell in the spring but have grown overall in the past 12 months, the latest statistics show.

From April to June, the value of overseas sales fell by 4% with exports of drink down by 5.8%.

However the latest figures from the Scottish Index of Manufactured Exports showed that over the year exports rose by 1.7%.

The only area to see growth between April and June was wood, paper, publishing and printing.

The fall in exports is the largest since the last quarter of 2008 when the country was in the depths of the financial crisis.

In the period covered by these latest figures, Scotland was back in recession.

Growth over the year was recorded in a number of areas.

Food and drink was the largest contributor to annual growth with a 5.4% increase followed by transport equipment which rose by 11.9% and mechanical engineering which grew by 8.7%.

Although wood, paper publishing and printing grew over the quarter it contracted by 12.9% over the year.

The fall in drink exports was reflected in recent figures from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) which said overseas sales stalled in the first half of this year.

The SWA said the value of trade stood at £1.8bn - the same as the first half of 2011.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the figures should be seen in the light of global economic conditions.

He added: "During quarter two there was heightened uncertainty in some of our key export markets such as the EU as well as slowed growth in the US and Asia.

"These figures underline why it is important for us to continue to develop trade links with emerging economies if we are to meet our ambitious target to increase the value of Scottish exports by 50% by 2017."

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