The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said yesterday that the value of the industry's exports came in at £1.987 billion in the first half, up 11% from £1.787bn in the opening six months of 2012.
And the volume of Scotch whisky exports totalled 563 million bottles in the six months to June. This was up by 9%, or nearly 50 million bottles, on the same period of 2012. This measure is stated in terms of 70-centilitre bottles with a strength of 40% alcohol by volume.
The value of Scotch whisky exports rose only 1% in 2012, albeit to a record £4.27 billion, SWA figures showed in April. The marginal growth in the value of exports in 2012 was achieved in spite of a 5% fall in the number of bottles sold.
And the 1% rise by value last year contrasted with a 23% leap in the value of Scotch whisky exports in 2011. Scotch whisky exports in the first half of 2012 were down marginally from the £1.798bn figure for the opening six months of 2011.
Highlighting major investments by Scotch whisky distillers to increase capacity, SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt said: "Demand for Scotch whisky from mature and emerging markets around the world grew strongly in the first half of this year after a slow start in 2012.
"While these figures provide a snapshot of what is happening with exports, the industry is confident this expansion will continue. Significant new investment in the industry in Scotland by Scotch whisky producers reflects the belief that growth will be sustainable."
The latest SWA figures show the value of direct Scotch whisky exports to China in the first half of 2013, at £24.8 million, was down 20% on the opening six months of 2012.
However, the SWA highlighted a 19% jump in first-half exports of Scotch whisky to Singapore, to £173.8m. It noted Singapore was a distribution hub for much of Asia, including Taiwan, South Korea and China.
Asked if the figures for exports to China were a concern, a spokeswoman for the SWA replied: "Obviously, we are disappointed it is down. It is still a big market for us. And the other thing is quite a lot goes to China through Singapore, and Singapore is up."
The spokeswoman noted a crackdown by the Chinese government on expensive entertaining.
She said that overall Scotch whisky exports to Asia in the first half totalled £415m, down 1% from £420m in the opening six months of 2012.
Direct Scotch whisky exports to Taiwan in the first half were down 18% on the same period of last year, at £65.4m. And direct exports to South Korea in the first half were down 9% on the opening six months of last year at £59.6m.
Scotch whisky exports to the US in the first half of this year totalled £391m, up 29% on the opening six months of 2012. The US is by far the largest overseas market for Scotch whisky by value.
The SWA spokeswoman said the US market was "looking good".
She added: "We are really pleased about that. It is just confidence in that market, and Scotch whisky is as popular as ever. "
The spokeswoman believed the "Mad Men effect" might be continuing to boost sales of Scotch whisky in the US. The popular Mad Men television drama features whisky-drinking advertising executives.
Scotch whisky exports to France totalled £198.8m in the first half, up 6% on the same period of 2012.
France is the second-largest overseas market for Scotch by value.
The SWA yesterday contrasted the buoyancy of Scotch whisky exports with weaker sales in the UK.
It said that releases of Scotch whisky from bond for sale in the UK in the first half totalled 37.3 million bottles, down about 5.5% on the corresponding figure of 39.5 million in the opening six months of 2012.
The SWA blamed the domestic excise duty regime, and called for UK Government help in this regard.