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Index of Manufactured Exports, First Quarter 2012


Definitions and Release Policy

1. The Index of Manufactured Exports (IME) is a measure of quarterly export sales by manufacturing companies located in Scotland.

2. Estimates for most manufacturing sectors are based on sales figures reported to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the Monthly Business Survey. Other data sources include the Department for Energy and Climate Change (for refined petroleum products) and the Scottish Government’s Global Connections Survey. Data are currently received from around 780 manufacturing companies in Scotland each quarter.

3. Export sales are defined as direct sales to the rest of the world (ROW), and do not include sales of goods or components which are exported further down the supply chain. IME does not measure exports to the rest of the UK (RUK).

4. The published results are presented in constant prices, meaning that they have been adjusted for inflation to represent changes in the volume of sales rather than value. This provides a measure of growth in real terms.

5. The IME estimates are based on the manufacturing sector as defined by the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2003. There will be a change to the revised SIC 2007 in line with other Scottish Government statistics during 2012.  

6. This publication includes data available to 29th June 2012.

7. The next publication of IME, covering the second quarter of 2012, is planned for Wednesday 24th October 2012. This date is slightly later than usual to allow for the extra processing required to convert the results to SIC 07 and incorporate other methodology updates (see note 15).


8. Results in this statistical bulletin incorporate revisions to previously published estimates. Tables 3 and 4 identify the extent of revisions since the last publication in January. Revisions to the level of index numbers (not growth rates) are shown to the nearest whole value. In this release the period open for revision is from 2011 Q1 only.

9. The latest estimate for the growth of total manufactured exports in 2011 Q3 has been revised from +0.2% to +0.1%, growth in 2011 Q2 has been revised from +0.9% to +1.8%, and growth in 2011 Q1 has been revised from +3.9% to +4.1%. This follows revisions to several industry sectors due to updates to source data and associated seasonal adjustment factors. The annual growth rate for 2011 has been revised from +4.8% to +4.9%.

10. The Scottish Government’s revisions policy for economic statistics is available at:


11. An information paper discussing the reliability and accuracy of the Index of Manufactured Exports, and providing analysis of revisions in recent years, has been published on the Scottish Government website at the following location:


12. The chart below shows a comparison of the overall index this quarter and the index published in April 2012. 

IME 2012 Q1

Methodology Notes

13. The annual Global Connections Survey (GCS) provides a current price estimate, in monetary terms, of the value of exports sales across the entire Scottish economy. The latest figures, published on 25 January 2012, show that exports from the manufacturing sector accounted for £13.7 billion in 2010 - 62 per cent of all exports from Scotland to the rest of the world.

14. The Global Connections Survey is also the only source for estimates of exports from Scotland to the rest of the UK. Further information can be found on Scottish Government website at: www.scotland.gov.uk/exports

Methodology Developments

15. There are a number of methodology updates being developed for the Index of Manufactured Exports. These are planned for October 2012 (2012 Quarter 2 results) and include:

  • The Index of Manufactured Exports will begin to be classified and estimated using SIC 2007. The main impact on IME will be the removal of publishing, nuclear fuel processing and recycling from the manufacturing sector.
  • Benchmarking of results in current price (value) terms to the latest Global Connections Survey and Input-Output tables for Scotland to provide chainlinking weights for IME. This will improve the consistency of exports results from different statistical sources within the Scottish Government.

National Statistics

16. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

17. Results are available to download from the Scottish Government website at: www.scotland.gov.uk/exports

Issued by:                                                       

Office of the Chief Economic Adviser                      
Scottish Government                                                                     
St Andrew’s House                                              
Regent Road                                                                                                                             



Communications Office:                                       0131-244-4044

Assistant Statistician:             John Dowens        0131-244-3269