Trade figures - August 2014

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The overall deficit narrowed in August, a good result on the face of it, but a welcome technical improvement doesn’t lessen concerns about the UK’s trade performance.

The trend in exports remains downbeat, but not entirely surprising given the lack of spark in the world economy. While a fair bit of the decline in goods exports can be attributed to oil, there has been a slide in manufactured exports generally over the past year.

The data provide yet another reminder that the export part of the rebalancing equation continues to face some significant challenges.

In summary...

August 2014

  • deficit of £9.1 billion on goods - narrowing by £1.3bn compared with a month previous; but this was due to large fall in imports from non-EU countries rather than an increase in exports
  • exports of goods were down to £23.2bn - a decrease of £0.7bn - and at the lowest level since September 2010
  • the fall was down to a decrease oil exports and in particular, exports to non-EU countries. Also significant was a decrease in exports of chemicals, specifically medicinal and pharmaceutical products
  • exports to EU countries fell only slightly - less than £0.1bn
  • exports to non-EU countries fell £0.6bn

Three months to August 2014

  • the trade in goods deficit grew by £2.7bn to £29.2bn, 
  • this reflects a £2.2bn fall in global exports (down 3.1%) and a £0.5bn rise in imports
  • exports to the EU fell by £0.5bn (1.4%)
  • exports to non-EU countries fell by 4.8% (£1.7bn) to £34.6bn

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Senior Policy Researcher

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