Page last updated at 00:52 GMT, Monday, 16 February 2009

Scottish export sales show slump

Whisky being poured
Non-electronic exports such as whisky increased by 8% year-on-year

Scotland's manufacturing exports have dropped for the first time in three years, according to latest figures.

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) reported a 2.4% fall in goods exported overseas in 2007/08, down to 14.6bn.

The dip comes after three consecutive years of growth in the sector.

Electronic products, which make up 30% of exports, saw the largest fall. But non-electronic goods, such as whisky, rose by 8% year-on-year to 10.3bn.

SCDI chief executive Lesley Sawers said some sectors should prepare for hard times ahead.

She said: "We're disappointed to see a decline in manufactured exports in 2007-08 after three years of growth. However, the overall decline masks a record performance for non-electronic exports, with an incredible 8% annual increase.

"The figures show some incredibly strong performances in sectors such as food and drink, recycling, specialist vehicles, medical equipment and chemicals.

"So while some sectors are struggling to compete with lower cost countries in Asia and Eastern Europe, and with further high profile job losses it's likely this sector will continue to contract in the future.

"That's why it's so important that we capitalise on new and growing markets such as food and drink and chemicals, and support more companies in these areas with potential for the future."

Last month business group CBI Scotland expressed frustration that export volumes had not been stronger, despite a drop in the value of sterling.

It came after figures revealed exports suffered a 1% drop in the third quarter of last year.

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