Latest quarterly national accounts released—summary and analysis

National accounts for the fourth quarter of 2016 were released today. Headline results from the Government’s publication:

  • During the fourth quarter of 2016, Scottish onshore GDP decreased by 0.2% in real terms. In 2016 as a whole, GDP increased by 0.4% compared to 2015. These results are re-printed in this publication without revision following their release on 5 April 2017.
  • During 2016 as a whole, the value of Scottish onshore GDP is estimated at £149.8 billion in total, or £27,839 per person.
  • Including a geographical share of UK extra-regio (offshore and overseas) economic activity, Scottish GDP is estimated at £159.0 billion during 2016, or £29,554 per person.
  • Analysis of the expenditure measure of onshore GDP shows that growth over the latest 12 months was mostly driven by consumer spending, but with positive contributions also made by government, capital investment and exports. There was a negative contribution to GDP growth from the widening of the onshore net trade deficit, due to the increasing value of imports.
  • Manufactured Exports make up around half of the total value of exports from Scotland to the rest of the world (excluding oil and gas). The Index of Manufactured Exports (IME) fell by 2.3% in volume terms during the fourth quarter of 2016. Comparing the most recent four quarters to the previous four quarters (4Q-on-4Q growth), the volume of manufactured exports fell by 5.3 per cent.
  • Over the year to 2016 Quarter 4, total consumer spending by the Household and NPISH sectors is estimated to have increased by 2.9% in current prices (unadjusted for inflation, not real terms)
  • Gross Disposable Household Income (GDHI) is estimated to have increased by 1.6% over the year to 2016 Quarter 4 (in current prices, not real terms). The Household Savings Ratio is 2.6 per cent in the latest quarter.

Some charts and analysis based on the data…

The below chart shows GDP per capita from 1998 to 2016, with and without North Sea oil and gas:

Source: QNAS 2016 Q4—Summary Tables (Table B).

And here is real-terms GDP growth (onshore only) since 1998:

Source: QNAS 2016 Q4—Summary Tables (Table A).

GDP grew by 0.4% in real terms from 2015 to 2016, but growth was flat (+0.01%) if you compare Q4 2016 with Q4 20151.

As highlighted by The Scotsman, North Sea oil revenues in 2016 were negative for the first calendar year on record2. The below chart shows how onshore and offshore revenue have contributed to Scotland’s public finances since 1998:

Source: QNAS 2016 Q4—Summary Tables (Table J).

Both North Sea and overall revenues had been falling since 2011. However, there was a levelling off of total revenue in 2015, and in 2016 total revenue rose by £2.1 billion despite oil revenues being negative. Let us hope this is the beginning of an upward trend.

The chart below shows Gross Value Added (GVA)3 by broad industry group:

Source: QNAS 2016 Q4—Summary Tables (Table D).

Services is by far the biggest contributor, with a weight of 76% of GVA, and 67% of GDP. Services grew by 1.8% in real terms in 20164, but shrank by 0.04% in real terms in the last quarter of 20165. For the UK as a whole, the ONS’s latest figures show that services make up 79% of UK GDP.


  • 14 May: Added chart showing real-terms GDP (chained volume index) since 1998
  • 13 May: Added chart showing GVA by broad industry group
  • 12 May: Added chart comparing onshore and offshore public sector revenue since 1998
  • 11 May: Added chart showing GDP since 1998
  1. Table C, cell K112.
  2. -£338 million (Source: Statistical Bulletin, Table J). Figures go back to 1998.
  3. GVA is the main component of GDP: GDP = GVA + taxes on products – subsidies on products.
  4. Or 1.6% if you compare Q4 2016 with Q4 2015.
  5. Source: QNAS 2016 Q4—Summary Tables (Table C).

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