The first look at trade data for 2014 is out today and, as usual, there are also three monthly figures. As always, some caution is needed for the monthly figures as they are volatile. But overall, a bit of a downbeat start to the year.
In January 2014, the UK's overall (goods and services) trade deficit was £2.6 billion, compared with a deficit of £0.7 billion in December 2013.
Export of goods to EU and non-EU countries fell by 3.7% and 4.3% respectively compared with December 2013. The falls in exports are down to trade in commodities, e.g. aircraft and chemicals, which can be volatile.
Imports of goods from EU countries stayed the same, whilst imports of goods from non-EU countries increased by 7.5%.
Exports of goods in the three months to January 2014 also fell, in this case by 1.1%. Looking geographically, both EU and non-EU markets goods exports fell – EU decreasing by 1.9% and non-EU decreasing by just 0.3%.
The one high point – the three month goods deficit – was driven by a larger fall in imports (decrease of 3.0%) over exports (decrease of 1.1%).