According to new figures released by the Index of Manufactured Exports, the growth in the export of Scottish goods from the first quarter in 2011 has slowed considerably in the second quarter of this year. The statistics released by the index have highlighted that although Scottish exports continue to grow, that growth has slowed down, with manufactured exports dropping from 3.9% in the first quarter, to 1.1% in the second.
Despite the slowdown in the growth of the export market however, Scotland’s international trade market has seen rises in certain areas – most notably textiles, engineering and chemicals. Food and drink also saw a promising rise, up 2.4% on the previous quarter.
John Swinney, Scotland’s Finance Secretary, called the figures encouraging, suggesing that they provide evidence of a continuing upward trend in the countries exports. He said:
“On a yearly basis, the export volumes have increased for the last four consecutive quarters, giving us a stable upward trend. Scottish businesses are the main driver of sustainable growth in the country and our ability to succeed as a nation depends on the competitiveness and relative success of our businesses.”
The Finance Secretary also highlighted some optimistic goals for Scotland’s exports, setting a reasonably ambitious target to increase exports by a massive 50% by the year 2017, setting in place economic strategies to meet this target.
However, not all commentators expect this ambitious target to be met, particularly given the tough economic situation, both domestically and internationally. Given the increasing challenges presented by a growing uncertainty in the market (in the UK, Europe and the United States), it does seem like a particularly tough target for Scotland to reach.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of The Scottish Chambers Of Commerce echoed these concerns, suggesting that the country needs to diversify their exports in order to continue the promising level of growth.