United Kingdom Trade Deficit Narrows in January

Seasonally adjusted, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £2.4 billion in January, compared with a deficit of £2.8 billion in December. Lowest value of goods imports since April 2011.

There was a deficit of £8.2 billion on goods, partly offset by an estimated surplus of £5.8 billion on services. Excluding oil and erratic items, the deficit on trade in goods was £21.8 billion in the three months to January 2013. This was £1.3 billion less than the preceding three months and £0.5 billion lower than the same period a year ago. Export volumes (excluding oil and erratics) were unchanged in the latest three months; import volumes fell by 2.0 percent in the same period..

By EU country, exports to Germany by value held up better than exports to other member states, being virtually unchanged in the latest three months compared with the same period a year earlier. In contrast, exports to Belgium and Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden each fell by more than 5 percent over this period. Imports from Ireland continue to fall and in the latest three months were 19 percent lower than a year earlier. Imports from the Netherlands rose by 14 percent over this period, so that the trade deficit with the Netherlands was more than twice as great in the latest three months as a year earlier.
By commodity, exports of food beverages and tobacco, basic materials and oil have been more subdued than exports of manufactures. By value, manufacturing exports were 0.4 percent lower in the latest three months than a year earlier, while exports of food, beverages and tobacco fell by 2.6 percent over this period; basic materials by 13.3 percent; and fuels by 11.5 percent.
The balance of trade in services is estimated to have changed little in January (at a surplus of under £6 billion), though it is at a lower level than in mid-2011.

ONS | Nuno Fontes | nuno@tradingeconomics.com
3/12/2013 9:48:15 AM