Page last updated at 13:17 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 14:17 UK

Scottish exports see another fall

Rolls of newsprint
The biggest fall was in the wood, paper, publishing and printing sectors

Scotland's manufactured exports have plunged to their lowest level since 1995, figures have revealed.

The quarterly figures fell by 0.7% on the previous three months and are 8.5% down on a year ago.

Except for food and tobacco, which saw increases, every major industrial sector showed a fall.

The biggest fall was in the wood, paper, publishing and printing sectors, which saw a 12% drop in the level of manufactured exports.

Next hardest hit was textiles, fur and leather, down 7.3%.

The overall index of manufactured exports, which was over 140 around the year 2000, has fallen for the fifth successive quarter and is now below 100.

'Worst over'

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: "Any decline in the sale of Scottish products overseas is clearly disappointing.

"But the situation mirrors trends elsewhere and the rate of decline has continued to ease since the last statistics were published in July."

He added: "The figures demonstrate the Scottish government is absolutely right to focus on our economic recovery plan which is supporting up to 15,000 jobs across Scotland."

Jim mather
Jim Mather said the rate of decline in exports has eased

The CBI in Scotland said the figures were in line with its own survey which showed Scotland's export performance remained "weak" in the second quarter.

Assistant director David Lonsdale said: "If our exporters are to capitalise on any pick up in overseas demand then it is vital that they are provided with a supportive policy framework.

"It would be very worrying if reduced levels of support for manufacturers and for exporters resulted from the looming cuts to the budgets of Scotland's enterprise agencies."

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said the figures showed the rate of decline was becoming more shallow.

She said: "This would tally with our expectations that the Scottish economy has begun a recovery phase from the deep recession of late 2008 and early 2009 and is further evidence that the worst of the decline may be over."

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