Page last updated at 12:40 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 13:40 UK

Exports show 'solid performance'

Exports were down slightly over the last year

Scotland's manufacturing exports have shown a "solid performance" despite the global economic slowdown, according to the Scottish Government.

Ministers hailed "encouraging signs of resilience" in the economy after figures showed exports had remained static in the second quarter.

But business leaders have voiced disappointment at the figures.

CBI Scotland said it would be a challenge to maintain the current level of performance.

The figure for manufactured exports between April and June was unchanged from the previous quarter, according to the report from Scotland's chief statistician.

'Turbulent time'

It also suggested that manufactured exports had fallen by 0.1% over the year to the end of June.

CBI Scotland said this was "disappointing" given the "sizeable depreciation of sterling over the past year".

Director Iain McMillan said: "Indeed, it may well be a challenge to sustain even this level of performance, given declining economic conditions in key export markets and with exporters telling us their optimism for the year ahead has dropped."

He added that while the success of exporters was largely down to their own efforts, "external factors can and do affect firms and we will continue to lobby policy makers to keep a firm lid on those costs under their control and influence that affect business, particularly taxes, water charges, regulation and planning."

The Scottish Government said Scottish manufactured exports were maintaining their solid performance "at a turbulent time for economies worldwide".

Economic growth

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: "The economies of Scotland's key export destinations - the Euro area and United States - have been hit by global events but demand for Scottish products remains stable, with the engineering sector among those performing well and growing over the last quarter.

"Nevertheless, in spite of this and encouraging signs of resilience in the Scottish economy, we cannot insulate ourselves from the effects of global economic conditions. That's why this government will not just sit back and wait for things to improve.

"We are committed to creating the right business conditions to help our companies through current international difficulties to ensure they can make a full contribution towards our goal of increased sustainable economic growth."

Over the quarter, there were growths in exports in engineering and allied industries (+1.4%); wood, paper, publishing and printing (+5.4%); metals & metal products (+1.6%); and other manufacturing (+8.7%).

Declines in export sales were observed in food, drink and tobacco (-2.5%); chemicals, coke, refined petroleum and nuclear fuel (-5.2%); and textiles, fur and leather (-6.6%).

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