UK Posts Smallest Trade Gap in 7 Months


The UK trade deficit decreased by GBP 2.07 billion to GBP 0.03 billion in September 2018 from an upwardly revised GBP 2.10 billion in the prior month. It was the smallest trade gap since February when a GBP 0.21 billion surplus was recorded.

Exports of goods and services rose 1.2 percent to GBP 54.95 billion in September of 2018 from GBP 54.29 billion in the previous month. The increase was boosted by a 1.7 percent gain in exports of goods and a 0.6 percent rise in services. Among purchases of goods, higher shipments were recorded in machinery and transport equipment (6.3 percent), material manufactures (5.4 percent) and crude materials (2.5 percent). In contrast, external sales fell mostly for chemicals (-0.6 percent), fuels (-9.8 percent) and food & live animals (-0.5 percent). 

Among major trading partners, exports of goods to non-EU countries advanced 5.0 percent, primarily to the US (1.7 percent), Canada (33.4 percent), the UAE (13.5 percent), India (3.3 percent) and Turkey (4.0 percent). Contrastingly, sales declined to China (-13.6 percent), Hong Kong (-6.1 percent), Switzerland (-8.0 percent) and South Korea (-8.9 percent). Meantime, shipments to the EU countries fell 1.7 percent, as sales decreased mainly to France (-23.5 percent), Belgium (-4.9 percent) and Spain (-3.0 percent) while they rose to Germany (1.2 percent), the Netherlands (2.2 percent) and Ireland (0.2 percent)

Imports declined 2.5 percent to GBP 54.98 billion from GBP 56.39 billion in August, mainly dragged down by lower purchases of both machinery & transport equipment and material manufactures (-3.6 percent), chemicals (-7.7 percent), fuels (-8.3 percent), food & live animals (-2.2 percent) and crude materials (-3.8 percent). 

Among major trading partners, imports of goods decreased 7.3 percent from non-EU countries, namely China (-4.3 percent), the US (-17.9 percent), Norway (-25 percent), Russia (-15 percent) and Turkey (-0.2 percent). In contrast, increases in imports were seen from Japan (2.5 percent) and India (12.1 percent). At the same time, purchases from the EU went down 0.1 percent, led by lower purchases from Germany (-1.0 percent), the Netherlands (-2.8 percent) and Belgium (-0.7 percent).

In the three months to September, the trade shortfall narrowed GBP 3.18 billion to GBP 2.92 billion, as exports of goods and services grew at a faster 3.8 percent to GBP 163.52 billion and imports went up 1.7 percent to GBP 166.44 billion.

UK Posts Smallest Trade Gap in 7 Months


ONS | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
11/9/2018 1:08:43 PM