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Further fall for Scottish exports

1 July 09 13:37 GMT

Scottish manufacturing exports fell by 3.4% in the first three months of this year, according to official figures.

It was the third successive quarterly drop, although the rate of the decline was less dramatic than in the previous quarter.

Official figures showed textiles and metals fared worst from the downturn, falling by nearly 13% in a year.

Finance Secretary John Swinney said the statistics reflected the effect of the global recession on exports.

He said: "With our key export markets suffering, the obvious result is a weakening in demand for Scottish products.

"But the decline in Scottish exports, while disappointing, mirrors global trends and has eased somewhat since the last statistics were published in April.

"Nevertheless today's figures emphasise the importance of Scottish Government activity to position Scotland's economy for recovery."

The statistics showed that exports had now fallen by 6.5% in the year to the end of March.

They fell by 7.5% in engineering and allied industries; food, drink and tobacco dropped 6.2%; metals and metal products were down 12.3%; and textiles, fur and leather fell by 12.5%.

CBI Scotland's assistant director, David Lonsdale, said the some of Scotland's key export markets were "in a rut".

He added: "The benefits of a weaker pound appear to have been fairly muted so far for Scottish-based exporters.

"However, if sterling were to remain weaker then exporters could well begin to feel the benefits in due course."

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