UK Trade Deficit Narrows in March


British trade gap decreased slightly to £2.8 billion in March from a revised £3.3 billion in the previous month as exports to countries outside the European Union rose and imports of aircraft and ships declined.

The deficit on trade and goods reflects a gap of £10.1 billion on goods, partially offset by an estimated surplus of £7.3 billion on services.

In detail, exports of goods rose 1.4 percent to £23.7 billion in March 2015. The increase mainly reflects a £0.4 billion rise in exports of manufactured goods; in particular, material manufactures (up £0.2 billion) and chemicals (up £0.2 billion). With the exception of unspecified goods which fell by £0.1 billion, exports of all main commodities rose in March 2015.

Imports of goods fell 1 percent, mainly reflecting a £0.3 billion decrease in imports of manufactured goods; specifically machinery and transport equipment which fell £0.4 billion due mainly to trade in aircraft and ships. The overall decrease in imports was partially offset by an increase in fuels, which rose by £0.2 billion.

In March 2015, exports to countries within the EU decreased by £0.3 billion. The fall was mainly attributed to fuels (specifically oil) and manufactured goods (specifically chemicals). Imports from EU countries fell by £0.9 billion between February 2015 and March 2015. Imports of manufactured goods fell by £0.7 billion; machinery and transport equipment, in particular, fell by £0.3 billion as imports of aircraft decreased. 

Outside the EU, exports rose by £0.7 billion. Manufactured goods increased by £0.5 billion, as chemicals (specifically medicinal and pharmaceutical products) rose by £0.3 billion and miscellaneous and material manufactures each rose by £0.2 billion. Oil exports also rose in March 2015, up £0.2 billion from February 2015. The increase in exports was partially offset by a £0.6 billion rise in imports from countries outside of the EU, as imports of miscellaneous manufactures rose by £0.5 billion and fuel imports rose by £0.1 billion. These increases were partially offset by lesser falls elsewhere.

Considering January to March 2015, the UK's deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £7.5 billion; widening by £1.5 billion from the previous quarter. Exports of goods fell by £2.7 billion while imports were down £1.9 billion. 

UK Trade Deficit Narrows in March


ONS | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
5/8/2015 1:03:29 PM