UK Trade Deficit Narrows in February


British trade gap narrowed to GDP 4.84 billion in February of 2016 from an upwardly revised GBP 5.2 billion deficit in the previous month as exports recovered and imports were flat. However, the trade in goods deficit was the widest ever for a February month and the trade gap with the European Union increased to a fresh record high of GBP 8.6 billion.

The trade in goods deficit has narrowed by GBP 0.2 billion to GBP 12.0 billion. However, it came worse than market expectations. The trade in services surplus increased by GBP 0.2 billion to GBP 7.1 billion.

Total exports went up 0.9 percent to GBP 42 billion, the highest value in four months. Shipments of goods increased GBP 0.3 billion to GBP 23.2 billion, boosted by chemicals. There was a GBP 0.3 billion increase in organic chemicals and a GBP 0.2 billion increase in pharmaceutical products; anecdotal evidence suggests the largest increases in exports of chemical products were to the US and Germany. In addition, exports of services went up GBP 0.1 billion. 

Total imports wear nearly flat at GBP 46.9 billion. Imports of goods went up by GBP 0.1 billion. There were increases in aircraft (GBP 0.5 billion), mechanical machinery (GBP 0.4 billion) and jewellery (GBP 0.2 billion); these increases were offset by a GBP 1.8 billion fall in imports of unspecified goods as imports of nonmonetary gold in January 2016 were the highest since December 2014. 

Exports to EU countries rose by GBP 0.4 billion, mainly due to a GBP 0.3 billion increase in chemical exports. Imports of goods from EU countries increased by GBP 1.2 billion, to a record GBP 20.0 billion; the largest increases were in aircraft, which increased by GBP 0.4 billion and cars, with an increase of GBP 0.2 billion. There were also increases in purchases of chemicals, electrical machinery, food and live animals, jewellery and oil of GBP 0.1 billion each. These movements resulted in a widening of the trade in goods deficit with EU countries by GBP 0.8 billion, to a record monthly deficit of GBP 8.6 billion in February 2016.

Between the 3 months to November 2015 and the 3 months to February 2016, the total trade deficit (goods and services) widened by GBP 3.8 billion to GBP 13.7 billion, reaching the largest 3 monthly deficit since the 3 months to March 2008.

UK Trade Deficit Narrows in February


ONS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
4/8/2016 2:15:45 PM