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 hit an all-time high while imports fell 2.5 percent. Balance of Trade in the United Kingdom averaged -1385.61 GBP Million from 1955 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 2946 GBP Million in March of 1981 and a record low of -5749 GBP Million in October of 2013.

United Kingdom Balance of Trade
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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.


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



Calendar GMT Actual Previous Consensus TEForecast
2018-09-10 08:30 AM Balance of Trade £-0.111B £-0.942B £-2.1B £-2.3B
2018-10-10 08:30 AM Balance of Trade £-1.274B £-0.572B £-1.15B £-1.8B
2018-11-09 09:30 AM Balance of Trade £-0.027B £-2.101B £ -1.1B
2018-12-11 09:30 AM Balance of Trade £-0.027B £-2.6B


United Kingdom Trade Last Previous Highest Lowest Unit
Balance of Trade -27.00 -2101.00 2946.00 -5749.00 GBP Million [+]
Exports 54953.00 54287.00 54953.00 962.00 GBP Million [+]
Imports 54980.00 56388.00 56388.00 1031.00 GBP Million [+]
Current Account -20317.00 -15692.00 2654.00 -32163.00 GBP Million [+]
Current Account to GDP -4.10 -5.80 2.60 -5.80 percent [+]
External Debt 6382913.00 6412914.00 6428718.00 565439.00 GBP Million [+]
Capital Flows 13843.00 3074.00 42878.00 -15043.00 GBP Million [+]
Foreign Direct Investment 22199.00 -3896.00 82539.00 -44536.00 GBP Million [+]
Gold Reserves 310.30 310.30 588.27 310.25 Tonnes [+]
Crude Oil Production 915.00 854.00 2821.00 1.00 BBL/D/1K [+]
Terrorism Index 5.10 5.08 5.68 4.19 [+]
Tourism Revenues 2008.00 2013.00 3014.00 126.00 GBP Million [+]
Tourist Arrivals 3234.00 3469.00 4043.00 540.00 Thousand [+]
Weapons Sales 1214.00 1365.00 6069.00 744.00 USD Million [+]

Exports by Country  |   Exports by Category  |   Imports by Country  |   Imports by Category



United Kingdom Balance of Trade

The UK's trade balance has been in deficit since 1998, due to deficits in trade in goods which are partly offset by surpluses in trade in services. The level of total UK trade in goods as a proportion of total trade in goods and services has been gradually declining since 1986 after peaking at 75 percent in 1985. This is consistent with the rising share of UK trade in services (35 percent of total trade in 2017). In 2017, the biggest goods deficits were recorded with Germany, China, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium & Luxembourg and Italy; and the largest surpluses were recorded with the United States, Ireland and South Korea. This page provides - United Kingdom Balance of Trade - actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news. United Kingdom Balance of Trade - actual data, historical chart and calendar of releases - was last updated on November of 2018.

Actual Previous Highest Lowest Dates Unit Frequency
-27.00 -2101.00 2946.00 -5749.00 1955 - 2018 GBP Million Monthly




Country Last
Argentina 314.00 Sep/18
Australia 3017.00 Sep/18
Brazil 6121.36 Oct/18
Canada -416.30 Sep/18
China 340.16 Oct/18
Euro Area 13141.70 Sep/18
France -5663.00 Sep/18
Germany 18395.00 Sep/18
India -17130.00 Oct/18
Indonesia -1819.90 Oct/18
Italy 1274.37 Sep/18
Japan -449.26 Oct/18
Mexico -194.00 Sep/18
Netherlands 4949.00 Sep/18
Russia 18485.00 Sep/18
Saudi Arabia 162782.00 Jun/18
Singapore 4520.91 Oct/18
South Africa -2950.00 Sep/18
South Korea 6552.00 Oct/18
Spain -3057300.00 Aug/18
Switzerland 1447.00 Sep/18
Turkey -1869.47 Sep/18
United Kingdom -27.00 Sep/18
United States -54019.00 Sep/18


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