Growth in new markets counteracts eastern decline
SCOTCH whisky exports remained stable last year, despite turbulent sales figures in the Far East, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.
New figures from the organisation show the value of Scotch whisky exported in 2013 remained steady at £4.5 billion while volume sales grew by 3%.
Demand for single malt from overseas markets continued to grow, with exports up 5% in value terms to a record £820 million.
By country, exports to east Asia fell across the board.
The volume of whisky shipped to China was down 27% last year, while exports fell by nearly 30% in value terms to £51m.
Exports to Taiwan, South Korea and Japan also declined, down 12.5%, 15% and 15% respectively with the three nations combined representing a drop of more than £50m in value terms.
There was good news from the Americas, however, where the USA remains the biggest whisky export market by value, up 8% to £819m in 2013, despite volumes remaining stationary.
Exports in east Asia fell across the board, but there was better news from the Americas.
The emerging markets of Mexico and Brazil also gave whisky exports a boost, with values increasing by 19.5% and 18.5% respectively.
Other stand-out performers were to be found in the relatively newer European Union member states.
Exports to Latvia increased by 30% in volume terms while shipments to Poland climbed 38% to £30m. Scotch exports to Poland are now around ten times the size they were when the nation joined the European Union in 2004.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said whisky exports remain strong.
“The unprecedented investment programmes in Scotch whisky by producers show that in the long term they are confident that demand will continue to grow,” he said.
“However, in the short run, there are some economic headwinds. Formal and informal barriers to trade remain.
“We should remember that the industry’s success does not come automatically but is based on hard work, investment and careful stewardship.”
He added that whatever the outcome of September’s independence referendum “we will continue to need the backing of an effective diplomatic network”.