Imports of goods and services to the UK rose by 2.6 percent to an all-time high of GBP 56.72 billion in January from a revised GBP 55.28 billion in the previous month, boosted by a 3.5 percent increase in purchases of goods, mainly aircraft, cars and fuels; and a 0.1 percent gain in imports of services. Among trading partners, imports of goods from the EU grew 3.1 percent, mainly from Germany (2.8 percent), France (5.1 percent), the Netherlands (1.8 percent) and Spain (7.7 percent). In addition, purchases from non-EU countries advanced 4.1 percent, as imports increased the most from Norway (12 percent), Japan (27.9 percent) and Switzerland (25.6 percent).
Exports from the UK increased at a slower 1.6 percent to GBP 53.65 billion in January from a revised GBP 52.78 billion in December, due to higher sales of goods (3.1 percent), mainly fuels and manufactured goods, while exports of services were unchanged. Among major trading partners, exports of goods to the EU grew 0.8 percent, as sales increased mainly to Germany (4.5 percent), Italy (10.6 percent) and Spain (7.3 percent). Also, exports of goods to non-EU countries jumped 5.4 percent, namely to the US (20.7 percent), China (4.3 percent), Hong Kong (21.3 percent) and South Korea (20 percent).
In the three months to January 2018, the trade deficit widened by GBP 3.4 billion to GBP 8.7 billion, due to a GBP 3.2 billion widening of the trade in goods deficit to GBP 36.5 billion; which resulted from a 1.7 percent increase in goods imports, combined with a 1.3 percent decrease in goods exports to GBP 86.5 billion.