SCOTTISH companies have been urged to move into exports to take advantage of increased optimism and growth indicators in the United States and European Union.

The advice comes in the Grant Thornton International Global Economy Report 2014, which highlights robust growth forecasts for economies such as Germany, Japan and the US.

However, it warns that slow growth, sliding currencies and social unrest are eroding business confidence in China, Brazil, India and South Africa.

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The report valued Scottish exports, excluding oil and gas, at £23.9 billion in 2011, with food and drink topping the table at £4.2bn. The top export destination was the US, followed by the Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium.