Scottish exports hit a wall

Posted on 4 Mar 2016 by Fred Tongue

According to HMRC, Scottish manufacturers have seen a steep drop in demand for exports.

Roughly an eighth of all the goods manufactured in Scotland are sold abroad, but sales to other countries are down more than 9%.

Machinery and transport sectors, which account for a third of all Scottish good exported, was down by 5%, or around £319m at £5.8bn.

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The data shows a steeper drop off for Scottish good than other British made goods.

In the UK, machinery and transport were barely down, at just below £108bn, despite manufactured UK exports as a whole being down by almost 6% on 2014, and are now worth less than £26.9bn.

These figures represent a global slowdown in trade and the difficulties of the sterling being strong.

The other big export sector for Scottish goods is whisky, which dominates the beverages and tobacco classification. The sector continued to slide to 4.4% in exports to just under £4.5bn.

While exports fell, imports rose, according to the HMRC’s latest regional trade figures.

The Scottish Engineering trading group recently published their quarterly survey of companies also showed a slide in both output and exports.

The figures were slightly better than those from the final quarter of last year, 29% of companies said orders were up while 40% said they were down.

One of the larger engineering-based companies based in Scotland, Aggreko, has produced full year results that reflect a wide range of changes in the world economy over the past year.

The provider of temporary power generation was hit by the fall in oil and gas prices, where it had been a provider of power on fracking projects, though it has partly offset that by doing better in petrochemicals and refining.