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Scotch whisky export growth accelerated in the first half of the year as premium sales continued to drive the category.

Export value was up 11% in the six months to the end of June, just shy of GBP2bn (US$2.6bn), according to figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association. The performance was an improvement on half-year figures last year, in which Scotch export value climbed by just 3%.

Volumes growth was also better - up 6% in the half year to 558m bottles compared to a 2% drop in last year's H1.

Single malts, which account for almost 30% of Scotch's total export value, were the top performers. Sales for the sub-category climbed by 14% to GBP550m. However, blended Scotch whisky was also in strong growth, up 9% to GBP1.26bn.

In a sign of Scotch's export strength, the top 19 markets by value for the spirit grew sales. Top market by value the US grew by 5% while number nine on the list, India, was up by 44%. Out of the top 20, only Turkey saw sales decline, by 5%.

Scotch Whisky Exports H1 2018: Top ten markets by value

MarketValue (in GBP m)Value +/-Volumes (in bottles m)Volumes +/-
1The US407.8+5.1%61+4%
2France198.5+0.3%89.7+3.9%
3Singapore140+24.5%20.5+4.2%
4Germany78.8+2%23.8-9%
5Taiwan73.1+3.5%7.6-11.3%
6Spain72.3+3.4%25.3-1.7%
7UAE62.5+19.712.9+23.6%
8Japan56.2+31.1%21.4+46.4%
9India56.1+44.4%43+9.3%
10Australia56+26%15.1+5.7%

Source: Scotch Whisky Association

France remained the top market by volumes, growing bottle sales by 5%.

The SWA said it hoped the UK government will work hard to ensure Scotch's continued growth in the face of Brexit.

"As the UK leaves the EU, the industry wants to continue to trade with the EU as easily as it has while being able to pursue growth opportunities globally," SWA chief executive Karen Betts said.

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Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Scotch Whisky Association

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