In the latest quarter the largest contribution to the fall in exports was from the Food & Drink sector (-2.9%), where growth in food exports was outweighed by the first fall in drink exports since early 2010.
This fall was partially offset by growth in the Engineering & Allied Industries (+1.4%) and Chemicals & Refined Petroleum (+2.4%) sectors.
There were also quarterly falls in the exports from the Metals & Metals Products sector, the Wood, Paper, Publishing & Printing sector, and the Textiles, Clothing & Leather sector.
The total volume of exports from the manufacturing sector in Scotland grew 4.2% on an annual basis to the end of March 2012 (4Q-on-4Q), with growth in most sectors and subsectors.
The largest contribution to annual growth was the Food & Drink sector (+8.8%), followed by Engineering & Allied Industries (+2.8%) and Chemicals & Refined Petroleum Products (+5.2%). The largest negative contribution offsetting this growth is the fall in Wood, Paper, Publishing & Printing (-13.0%).
The annual rate of growth in manufactured exports (4Q-on-4Q) has slowed in the latest quarter, from 4.9% to 4.2%. This reflects the slowing of quarterly growth in the second half of 2011, following strong results at the start of the year.
The index of manufactured exports fell more than 13% during the recession in 2008-09. Since then the trend in the results shows a recovery in export volumes, although the quarterly growth rates have been relatively volatile. The latest results show that export volumes remain around 6.4% below their pre-recession level.