Scotch whisky exports rose in value by 12% to GBP4.2bn (US$6.78bn) in the year to the end of June, with the US remaining the biggest international market, latest figures show.

In the six months to June, exports to the US increased by 13% in value year-on-year to GBP303.6m, according to a release from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) earlier today (2 October). But, France, the second biggest export market, saw a 14% drop in value to GBP188m. Singapore, the third largest export market, also reported a 1.5% fall to GBP146.2m. 

Latvia saw the biggest jump in value, with the imported whisky market up 77% to GBP32m.

Venezuela also reported strong growth of 31%, to GBP42m.

Meanwhile, whisky producers benefited from India's increasing thirst for Scotch, with exports up by 28% to GBP28.3m in the six months to June. The SWA also said it "remains hopeful" that a conclusion can be reached on the European Union/India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by the end of this year.

Spain was the worst performer with a 24% drop in exports to GBP74m in the first half of 2012. 

Gavin Hewitt, SWA's chief executive, said: "While there has been a levelling off in the first half of this year, the industry remains confident about the future.

“Recent announcements of investments in new distilleries and the expansion of existing facilities demonstrate the level of confidence producers have in future growth opportunities.”