UK Trade Deficit Narrows to 4-Month Low


British trade gap narrowed to GBP 3.45 billion in January of 2016 from an upwardly revised GBP 3.69 billion shortfall in December. It is the lowest trade deficit in four months, due to a drop in imports of unspecified goods and fuels. However, the country's trade deficit in goods with the European Union widened to GBP 8.1 billion, the largest gap on record.

Total imports declined 0.46 percent to GBP 44.845 billion. Imports of goods fell by GBP 0.2 billion to GBP 33.2 billion, mainly unspecified goods and fuels, partially offset by rises in imports of chemicals and machinery and transport equipment. Imports of goods from countries within the EU rose by GBP 0.7 billion; imports of chemicals, particularly medicinal and pharmaceutical products, increased by GBP 0.3 billion. The rise in imports resulted in a deficit of GBP 8.1 billion with EU countries, the largest monthly deficit on record. Imports from countries outside the EU fell by GBP 0.8 billion between December 2015 and January 2016; this was predominantly due to trade in non-monetary gold.

Total exports edged up a meager 0.07 percent from the previous month to GBP 41.386 billion in January. Exports of goods declined by GBP 11.0 million while sales of services went up by GBP 42.0 million. Exports of goods to countries within the EU were broadly unchanged, increasing by GBP 12.0 million to GBP 10.9 billion. Shipments of goods to countries outside the EU were also broadly unchanged (down GBP 23.0 million).

The goods trade deficit narrowed by GBP 0.2 billion to GBP 10.3 billion. Excluding oil and erratics the trade in goods deficit widened by GBP 0.5 billion between December 2015 and January 2016.

ONS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
3/11/2016 10:22:40 AM