Scotch Whisky Exports decline
Scotch whisky exports declineReuters

The value of Scotch whisky exports declined by 7% in 2014, due to weaker economic conditions and political volatility in some markets, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

The association said the value of Scotch whisky exports declined to £3.95bn (€5.4bn, $5.8bn) in 2014 from £4.26bn in 2013. The volume of global exports also fell by 3%, to 1.19 billion 70cl bottles.

Exports to the US, the biggest market for Scotch by value, have declined by 9% to $748m, contributing largely to the global decline. Exports to France, the biggest market by volume and second biggest by value, were up 2% to £445m and 3% to 183m bottles.

Given the weakness in the industry, the SWA called on the European Union and the future UK government to pursue ambitious Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) to promote exports.

The association said it expects strong growth for the sector in the long term, given high demand from most emerging markets.

In Asia, Taiwan saw exports jump 36% to £197m, partly as a result of the growing popularity of single malts. Exports to India were up 29% to £89m, despite a 150% import tariff.

The decline comes after Scotch whisky enjoyed strong global growth over the last decade, with total value of exports up 74% since 2004 and single malt up 159%.

"Economic and political factors in some important markets held back Scotch Whisky exports in 2014 after a decade of strong growth," said David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive.

"It shows that the industry's success cannot be taken for granted and that we must continue to argue for more open markets and ambitious trade deals that tackle barriers to market access."

"The long-term fundamentals remain strong, with consumers in emerging markets wanting to buy Scotch Whisky as a high-quality and authentic product with a strong reputation and clear provenance."