UK Trade Deficit At 10-Month High

The UK trade gap widened to £ 3.3 billion in July from £ 2.5 billion in June. Imports of goods recorded the largest monthly increase in nearly two years driven by purchases of fuels and chemicals.

Total exports of goods and services amounted to £40.83 billion in July while imports reached £44.18 billion. There was a deficit of £10.2 billion on goods partly offset by an estimated surplus of £6.8 billion on services. 

The deficit on trade in goods was the widest monthly deficit since April 2012; despite a £0.5 billion rise in exports, the import level rose more significantly, up £ 1.3 billion from June 2014. In terms of commodities, the widening is mainly attributed to manufactured goods which accounts for roughly two thirds of the total deficit.

Between June 2014 and July 2014, imports of goods rose by £1.3 billion to £34.2 billion; its highest level since October 2013 and the largest monthly increase since August 2012. This rise reflected increases in the import of fuels (up £0.6 billion in July) and imports of chemicals (up £0.3 billion). Within machinery and transport equipment, imports of aircraft increased by £0.7 billion, however this increase was almost entirely offset by falls in ships and other lower level components.

Imports from non-EU countries rose £1.0 billion (roughly 77% of the total). Of this increase, £0.6 billion is attributed to fuel exports and a further £0.4 billion is spread throughout manufactured goods. Almost all of the aircraft in July 2014 were imported from countries outside the EU.

Exports of goods performed positively in July, with exports to countries outside of the EU accounting for roughly 95% of the total increase. The total rise in exports was due largely to the strength of fuel and chemical exports which rose £0.4 billion and £0.3 billion respectively. The increase in fuel exports was mainly attributed to oil trade with non-EU countries, which rose by around £0.3 billion.

The overall increase in world exports of chemicals reflects medicinal and pharmaceutical products which reached its highest level since November 2012. Medicinal and pharmaceutical trade remains one of the UK’s most significant industries, growing by more than 100% over the past ten years. Outside of fuels and chemicals, exports were fairly static in July, with larger movements in commodities such as aircraft (up £0.2 billion from June 2014) being offset elsewhere.

UK Trade Deficit At 10-Month High

ONS | Joana Taborda |
9/9/2014 9:52:42 AM