SCOTLAND’s first-quarter economic growth has been revised up to 0.6 per cent from 0.5% in the latest official data, and is now ahead of UK-wide expansion over the same period.

The revision came in the latest quarterly national accounts, published yesterday by the Scottish Government, which also showed a 1.4% quarter-on-quarter rise in manufactured exports.

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The largest single contribution to onshore quarterly gross domestic product growth in the opening three months of this year came from the manufacturing sector. Scottish manufacturing output jumped by 2.3% quarter-on-quarter. Within manufacturing, the pharmaceuticals and drinks sub-sectors were particularly strong. Scotland’s services sector grew by only 0.2% in the first quarter, with construction output increasing by 0.4%.

UK GDP grew by 0.5% in the first quarter.

The Scottish Government noted that, comparing the first quarter with the same period of last year, household disposable income in Scotland was up by 3.9%, unadjusted for inflation, while consumer spending had risen 2.2%. As a result, the household savings ratio rose to 3.4% in the first quarter, from 2.3% in the same period of 2018.

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The Scottish Government said: “This indicates that the savings ratio may be stabilising after falling sharply in recent years.”

Andy Hall, head of corporate banking in central Scotland at Barclays, said of the manufactured export figures: “[The] results are in line with the pattern of steady export performance we’ve seen in Scotland. In a challenging economic climate at home and abroad, Scottish manufacturers have proved their resilience. The current political uncertainty has had some benefits for exporters, with stockpiling and currency depreciation associated with Brexit leading to increased orders.”

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He added: “However, the benefits of currency depreciation are often short-lived, and investment in areas like innovation and international development is needed to secure a sustained increase in exports."