A challenging global economic environment
Although the global economy continues to grow, the pace of growth is mixed and is expected to weaken in 2016.
China’s slowdown and low global commodity prices will continue to impact on overall world trade as export demand from emerging economies slows.
The performance of Europe, Scotland’s main international export market, is likely to be subdued. Recent relatively strong growth in the US, the world’s largest economy, and the UK, the biggest single market for Scotland, is likely to slow over the year.
Scotland’s economy has achieved three years of continuous growth, and employment is now at a record high, but, as a small open economy, these global trends, coupled with the sustained fall in oil global prices, will undoubtedly affect our economic prospects.
Already, we have seen the rate of growth in Scotland slow significantly in recent months and as a result we can anticipate 2016-17 to be a more challenging year.
In such a climate, it is more important than ever that we remain focused on working with others to build an internationally competitive, resilient economy that ensures we make the most of growth opportunities for our companies and sectors across a range of markets.
Collaboration, and ensuring the right mix of support, focused in the right place at the right time, will be essential. We will continue to deliver our business plan in a way that drives a joined up approach, working with the public, private and third sector partners to offer the very best integrated economic development support for Scotland.
Our Business Plan for 2016-17 sets out how we are responding to these global challenges and opportunities, with a focus on the areas where we can make the biggest difference.
In line with our 2015-18 business plan, our focus is on working with companies to raise their ambition, international competitiveness, innovation and export performance, while helping to address the challenges and opportunities in our key sectors.
We also continue to work internationally to attract more investment to Scotland and seek to tackle inequality in our economy.