There was a deficit of £8.9 billion on goods, partly offset by an estimated surplus of £5.7 billion on services. Excluding oil and erratic items, the deficit on trade in goods was £22.2 billion in quarter four. This was £0.2 billion more than the preceding quarter and £0.6 billion higher than quarter four 2011. Export prices (excluding oil and erratics) rose by 0.3 percent in the latest quarter; import prices rose by 0.2 percent in the same period.
Over the 10 years 2002-2012, the value of Britain’s exports grew by 60 percent, an average of 4.8 percent a year. However, the value of imports rose rather faster, by 74 percent, or 5.7 percent per annum. Some of this difference was due to oil. Excluding oil, the rate of growth of exports was little changed but imports less oil grew at an average rate of 5.1 percent, much closer to the rise in exports.
The balance of trade in goods, which had been in deficit (that is, imports exceeded exports) by £47 billion in 2002 was in deficit by £107 billion last year.