SCOTTISH goods exports have risen more than four times faster than the UK average as sales shot up by £4.3 billion, new figures show.

The latest regional trade statistics from HMRC reveal the value of Scotland’s total annual goods exports increased by 14.5% in the year ending June 30. For the UK as a whole, this figure was just 3.3%.

Released yesterday, the official second quarter data shows Scotland’s growth has outstripped every other UK nation, with annual goods exports reaching a total of £34bn.

More than half of goods from Scotland were shipped to the Europe Union, which the Scottish Government said proves “the importance of this market”.

A total of £17.3bn worth of Scottish items entered the European market over the past 12 months. This is thanks to a near-12% boost – compared with equivalent overall UK growth, which was recorded at less than 2%.

Commenting on the statistics, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said a year of increasing Brexit uncertainty had failed to sink Scots exports.

However, with a No-Deal crash-out still a possibility, he warned damage may still be done. And the senior cabinet secretary said the data highlights just how crucial Europe is to Scotland’s economy.

In a statement, Mackay said: “In spite of the uncertainty being caused by Brexit, these statistics demonstrate a thriving export industry in Scotland, with demand for Scottish products like mineral fuels, machinery, whisky and salmon continuing to rise across the globe.

“However, the figures also provide a timely reminder of the vital importance of the European single market and customs union to the Scottish economy, which is eight times bigger in population terms than the UK market alone.

“By leaving the European Union we risk irreparably damaging that relationship – all the more so if we leave without a deal. The financial implications of that outcome could be disastrous for Scotland.”

In the year to the end of June, the value of the UK’s total annual goods exports was £344.1bn. But these were dwarfed by imports, which reached £489bn over the same period.

In comparison, Scotland chalked up almost £11bn more in exports than imports.

Wales and Northern Ireland both achieved a 6.8% uplift in overseas goods sales, according to the report, a level which was second only to that of Scotland. A rise of just 2.2% was recorded for England.

Releasing the data, HMRC said: “The largest import partner by value was Germany for England, United States for Wales, Norway for Scotland, and the Irish Republic for Northern Ireland.

“The partner countries with the largest value increase were China for England, Algeria for Wales, the Netherlands for Scotland, and the Irish Republic for Northern Ireland.”