Byline: CHRIS KELSEY
EXPORTS from Wales slumped more than 15% in the year to June - the worst performance for any part of the UK.
Figures released by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) show the value of overseas sales from Wales for the four quarters up to June 2010 fell by pounds 1,602m compared with the previous four quarters.
This represents a decline of 15.6% at a time when exports from the UK as a whole rose by 2.5%.
Only three out of the 12 devolved nations and English regions saw a fall in export values over this period. Wales had the largest percentage decrease followed by Northern Ireland (down 14.5%) and the East Midlands (9.1%).
There were decreases in exports to both EU countries and non-EU countries alike, with sales to EU countries falling 9% (pounds 480m) and to the rest of the world 22.8% (pounds 1,122m).
English regions performed best, with London recording an 8.2% rise, the West Midlands 8.1% and the east of England 6.5%.
The Welsh Assembly Government blamed poor economic conditions in overseas markets for the slump in export sales.
A spokesman said: "These latest export figures are disappointing and illustrate clearly the challenges Wales faces when it comes to exports.
"The reality is that the markets we export the most to, in particular Europe, are experiencing their own economic difficulties."
Comparing the second quarter of 2010 with the same period last year exports from Wales decreased by pounds 124m (5.1%) to pounds 2,296m. This was again the worst performance for any UK nation or region, with overall UK exports rising by 15.6%.
There was some good news though with exports from Wales increasing by pounds 253m from the first to second …