UK Trade Gap Narrows Slightly in December


The UK trade deficit decreased to GBP 0.32 billion in December of 2018 from an upwardly revised GBP 0.36 billion in the previous month.

Imports of goods and services to the UK went down 1.6 percent to GBP 55.85 billion in December, dragged down by a decrease of 2.3 percent in purchases of goods while services imports rose 0.5 percent. Within goods commodities, main decreases were registered in purchases of fuels (-16.3 percent); food & live animals (-5.5 percent); chemicals (-2.4 percent) and miscellaneous manufactures (-1.8 percent). Meanwhile, increases were seen in imports of machinery & transport equipment (0.8 percent), namely cars; and material manufactures (3.4 percent).

Among major trading partners, imports of goods from non-EU countries shrank 6.5 percent, as purchases fell mainly from the US (-2.2 percent); Norway (-4.9 percent); India (-24.9 percent); Hong Kong (-7.9 percent) and China (-11 percent). Meanwhile, those from the EU went up 1.3 percent, mostly from France (8.4 percent), Italy (1.7 percent), Spain (38 percent), Poland (3.2 percent) and Denmark (14.7 percent). Contrarily, imports fell from Germany (-0.1 percent), Belgium (-1.1 percent) and Sweden (-4.1 percent).

Exports of goods and services from the UK decreased at a softer 1 percent to GBP 52.62 billion in December, as sales of goods fell 2.3 percent while those of services increased 0.7 percent. Within goods commodities, declines were mostly seen in shipments of fuels (-16.5 percent); machinery & transport equipment (-2 percent) and chemicals (-2.9 percent). In contrast, there were rises in exports of material manufactures (1.4 percent); unspecified goods (37.1 percent) and crude materials (0.2 percent). 

Among major trading partners, exports of goods to non-EU countries tumbled 4.8 percent, primarily from the US (-13.2 percent), China (-9.5 percent), the UAE (-2.3 percent), Hong Kong (-4.5 percent), Japan (-15.7 percent), Canada (-12.4 percent) and South Korea (-45.7 percent). Exports were higher to Switzerland (35.7 percent), India (47.8 percent), Singapore (21.3 percent), Turkey (8.2 percent) and Australia (2 percent). On the other hand, shipments to the EU rose 0.4 percent, as sales went up mainly to Germany (9.6 percent), the Netherlands (0.3 percent), Belgium (5.6 percent) and Italy (7.7 percent). In contrast, lower overseas sales were recorded to France (-3.9 percent), Ireland (-0.9 percent) and Spain (-6.8 percent).

UK Trade Gap Narrows Slightly in December


ONS | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
2/11/2019 10:53:29 AM