UK Trade Deficit at 1-Year Low


British trade gap decreased to £1.2 billion in April from an upwardly revised £3 billion in the previous month. It is the lowest figure since March last year as exports posted the biggest gain in seven months while imports shrank.

The deficit on trade of goods and services reflects a gap of £8.6 billion on goods, partially offset by an estimated surplus of £7.4 billion on services.

In detail, exports of goods rose 4.8 percent to £24.5 billion in April 2015. The increase mainly reflects a £0.4 billion rise in exports of chemicals; in particular, a rise in exports of organic compounds, which anecdotal evidence suggests were exported to the USA. Exports of fuels also increased in April 2015 (up £0.2 billion from March). Almost two-thirds of this increase was due to fuels other than oil.

Imports of goods fell 4.8 percent mainly due to miscellaneous manufactures. The overall decrease within miscellaneous manufactures was an accumulation of many low level commodities recording lower imports in April. The most significant of which being works of art and furniture. Imports of fuels fell by £0.4 billion between March 2015 and April 2015; specifically oil, which fell £0.2 billion.

In April 2015, exports to countries outside the EU rose by £0.6 billion. Chemical exports rose by £0.3 billion (primarily due to exports to the USA) and exports of machinery and transport equipment rose by £0.2 billion. Imports from EU countries fell by £0.8 billion between March 2015 and April 2015 as imports of chemicals, materials and miscellaneous manufactures each decreased by £0.2 billion.

Outside the EU, imports fell by £0.7 billion, mainly reflecting falls in miscellaneous manufactures (down £0.5 billion) and fuels (down £0.3 billion). The fall in fuel imports was primarily due to oil as imports fell by £0.2 billion in April 2015.

ONS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
6/9/2015 9:48:15 AM