Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 14:08 UK

Small rise for Scottish exports in last quarter

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Exports of textiles grew by more than 7% in the fourth quarter of 2009

Manufactured exports from Scotland grew by 2.9% in the final three months of 2009, but were down by more than 10% over the year.

The annual decline was less steep than the UK fall but the rebound at the end of the year was much weaker than other parts of Britain.

The biggest growth over the quarter was in chemicals, refined petroleum and nuclear fuel - which were up 9.4%.

Over the year the food and drink sector was the only one to register growth.

Food, drink and tobacco exports grew by 0.8% over the year and by 1.2% in the last three months of 2009.

'Unstinting support'

Metals saw the biggest fall in 2009, with exports down by 24%, followed by a 17.4% drop in textiles.

In the final quarter, metals showed a recovery with a 5.1% increase in export volumes while textiles grew by 7.7%.

Wood pulp and paper, which declined by more than 9% over the year, failed to show a recovery in the final quarter with a 7.9% drop in exports.

Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said: "This is the second successive quarterly increase in Scotland's manufactured exports, which comes as we see improving conditions in the global economy.

"It underlines the qualities of innovation and determination which are inherent in the Scottish business community, as well as unstinting support for companies from the Scottish government in what continue to be tough and challenging times."

Weak pound

The CBI in Scotland said more needed to be done to capitalise on the opportunity of the weak pound.

CBI Scotland's assistant director, David Lonsdale, said: "If Scotland is to deliver a step change in its export performance then the devolved government needs to set a far more stretching national target for export growth."

He called for the Scottish government to "provide pump prime funding for more direct air links with key international business destinations."

Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "Our economy will benefit from more businesses, in manufacturing and other sectors, looking towards new markets and expanding their horizons globally.

"That means that we must ease the paths to international trade and deliver appropriate support to firms as they look to trade overseas."



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