Rise in Scottish exports welcomed

Image caption,
Business leaders believe overseas demand is beginning to return

The latest Scottish export figures show a "welcome improvement", according to business leaders.

Statistics suggest that in the second quarter of 2010, manufactured export sales increased by 0.6% in real terms.

But CBI Scotland director Iain McMillan said the governments at Holyrood and Westminster must still focus on helping the economy grow.

Scottish Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said the figures demonstrated the "resilience" of Scottish companies.

Over the three-month period, a number of parts of the economy saw exports increase, with the textile, fur and leather sector experiencing growth of 22.8%.

Metals and metal products increased by 15.1% and wood, paper, publishing and printing rose by 6.9%.

However, some sectors saw a decline over the same period, with food, drink and tobacco down 4.4% and other manufacturing falling 6.5%.

Over the course of the year the level of Scottish manufactured export sales decreased by 2.5% in real terms.

'Accelerated growth'

Mr McMillan said: "These figures mark a welcome improvement in Scotland's export performance in the second quarter of this year, with more sub-sectors reporting growth than in the previous quarter.

"This is broadly consistent with the findings of our own recent industrial survey which found an acceleration in the growth of export orders for the second quarter of this year."

Mr McMillan said overseas demand was beginning to return but added that more needed to be done to help firms capitalise on the weak pound.

A separate parliamentary report last month found that Scotland's export performance was "patchy".

And recent statistics from Ernst and Young suggest the volume of manufactured exports from Scotland has fallen by 30% in the last decade.

Mr Mather said: "We recognise the importance of building on the fragile recovery which is under way and, through our economic recovery plan, are delivering practical help for our exporters."

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