Imports of goods and services fell by 3.5 percent to £51.9 billion from a record high of £53.7 billion in the previous month, mainly due to a decrease in imports of goods, with import levels of total trade moving back to the levels seen in February 2017. At the commodity level, the main contribution to the fall in imports was from mechanical machinery and oil from non-EU countries and cars from EU countries. Among trading partners, imports of goods from the EU decreased by 1.7 percent, mainly from Spain (-22.7 percent) and Germany (-3.4 percent). Imports of goods from non-EU countries also fell by 7.7 percent, dragged by lower purchases from Norway (-31.1 percent) and the US (-7.4 percent).
Exports of goods and services fell by a marginal 0.1 percent to £49.8 billion, almost unchanged from March's record high, due to a decrease of 0.5 percent in exports of trade in goods while exports of services rose by 0.6 percent. Sales of goods to the EU fell by 3.8 percent, mainly to Germany (-8.2 percent) and the Netherlands (-4.9 percent). By contrast, exports of goods to non-EU countries grew by 2.6 percent, boosted by higher sales to Switzerland (53.1 percent), China (11.2 percent) and Hong Kong (8.8 percent).
On the price front, export and import prices decreased by 1.1 percent and 0.9 percent respectively, with the value of sterling increasing by 2.2 percent in April 2017 compared with the March average. This follows an increase in prices last month and a general increase seen during 2016. However, it remains 7.7 percent lower when compared with April 2016.