SCOTTISH goods exports smashed £27 billion in the second quarter of the year — but more than half of smaller firms expect the UK economy to nosedive in the next year, according to research by Amazon.

The web giant released its findings as HMRC figures revealed a 21 per cent increase in overseas deals by Scots companies.

Regional Trade Statistics show the oil and gas sector is responsible for one third of these sales as it returns to growth following a prolonged period of decline that saw massive layoffs across the industry and its feeder firms.

The Westminster Government data also highlights the European Union’s importance to business, with almost half of all exports from Scotland going to the bloc.

But as Brexit looms closer, a study commissioned by Amazon and entrepreneurial organisation Enterprise Nation shows almost 60 per cent of Scots small and medium enterprises (SMEs) expect the UK economy to decline in the next 12 months.

The latest Capital Economics SME Growth Tracker also reported that more than 30 per cent of SMEs say the predicted downturn will limit their own company’s performance.

According to the report, SMEs experienced growth of 0.9 per cent in the past 12 months, achieving a profit of 0.2 per cent.

Now they are reading themselves for the consequences of Brexit, the volatility of Sterling, political uncertainty and higher price inflation.

Supply costs are regarded as the most likely factor to be adversely affected by Brexit, followed by profits and jobs.

However, more than 60 per cent of SMEs say they have yet to delay any business decision as a result of the Leave vote.

Doug Gurr, UK country manager for Amazon, said using digital channels will be “crucial” for SMEs seeking to mitigate risks to their business. He went on: “The annual report shows that small businesses want the ability to easily export to the EU and beyond. As a global business that provides Scottish businesses with access to international opportunities, we’ll continue to focus on tools and services that help SMEs export to the EU and around the world long-term.”

Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones added: “I hope the government looks closely at these views from the small business community and takes them into consideration throughout the Brexit process.”

Commenting on the HMRC figures, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “Scotland’s goods exports continued to grow in this quarter, increasing by 21 per cent to £27.1b. This is higher than the overall UK rate and the highest of any UK nation.

“It is particularly heartening to note that this has been largely driven by growth in the oil and gas industry, with exports up 38 per cent, or £2.2b. This equates to roughly 30 per cent of all goods exported from Scotland and is evidence that confidence is returning to the sector.”

He continued: “The fact that these figures show that 47 per cent of all Scotland’s goods are exported to the EU, reaffirms its value to Scotland as a trading partner, confirming that it remains a vital market for Scotland’s international exports. However, I am extremely concerned that the UK Government is cutting Scotland out of key decisions around Brexit and the wider economy.”