UK Trade Deficit Narrows in November

The UK trade deficit narrowed by GBP 0.13 billion to GBP 2.90 billion in November 2018 from a downwardly revised GBP 3.04 billion in the previous month.

Exports of goods and services from the UK rose 0.4 percent from a month earlier to an all-time high of GBP 53.95 billion in November, boosted by an increase of 1.2 percent in sales of services while goods exports fell 0.3 percent. Within goods commodities, decreases were recorded in exports of fuels (-9.4 percent), chemicals (-6.4 percent) and miscellaneous manufactures (-3.8 percent); while gains were seen in sales of material manufactures (5.1 percent), food & live animals (3.9 percent) and machinery & transport equipment (0.6 percent).

Among major trading partners, exports of goods to the EU fell 1 percent, as sales decreased mainly to Germany (-3.4 percent), the Netherlands (-19.3 percent) and Italy (-1.6 percent); while there was an advance in exports to France (3.2 percent), Ireland (0.4 percent), Belgium (4.8 percent) and Spain (6.1 percent). By contrast, sales to non-EU countries went up 0.4 percent, namely to Switzerland (44.4 percent), Hong Kong (16.2 percent), Japan (1.4 percent), Canada (17.5 percent), Singapore (3.1 percent) and Turkey (2 percent). Exports were lower to the US (-3.5 percent), China (-7.4 percent), the UAE (-7.1 percent), South Korea (-0.2 percent), Australia (-1.7 percent) and India (-12.2 percent).

Imports of goods and services to the UK edged up 0.1 percent to GBP 56.86 billion in November. The slight increase was driven by a 0.5 percent advance in purchases of services, while goods imports were unchanged. Within goods commodities, an increase in imports of fuels (5.2 percent), food & live animals (2.2 percent) and material manufactures (0.8 percent) was offset by declines in purchases of machinery & transport equipment (-0.9 percent), chemicals (-0.2 percent) and miscellaneous manufactures (-0.4 percent).

Among major trading partners, imports from the EU increased 1.5 percent, mainly from the Netherlands (3.6 percent), Ireland (4.2 percent), Sweden (25.9 percent) and Denmark (5 percent). Meanwhile, imports from Belgium were unchanged while a decline was recorded in imports from Germany (-1.4 percent), France (-2.4 percent), Italy (-1 percent), Spain (-0.1 percent) and Poland (-1.1 percent). By contrast, imports of goods from non-EU countries went down 1.7 percent, as purchases decreased mainly from the US (-2.2 percent), Norway (-12.9 percent), Japan (-11.9 percent), Turkey (-2 percent), Russia (-7.5 percent), India (-8.1 percent) and Hong Kong (-1.7 percent); while those from China rose 1.8 percent.

UK Trade Deficit Narrows in November

ONS | Joana Ferreira |
1/11/2019 10:21:00 AM