Total exports of goods and services amounted to £40.13 billion in August while imports reached £42 billion. In August 2014 there was a deficit of £9.1 billion on goods partly offset by an estimated surplus of £7.2 billion on services.
Between July 2014 and August 2014, exports of goods decreased by £0.7 billion to £23.2 billion mainly attributed to oil. Over the same period, imports of goods decreased by £2.0 billion to £32.3 billion, reflecting falls in imports of aircraft, fuels and chemicals. This is the first time in the past five months that the trade in goods deficit has narrowed and although exports fell in August, imports fell more heavily.The second most significant fall was exports of chemicals; specifically medicinal and pharmaceutical products which fell £0.3 billion from the previous month.
Imports fell by £2.0 billion in August 2014; the largest monthly decrease since July 2006. Some weakness can be attributed to a return to typical levels following the increase in imports in July 2014, however, the fall mainly reflects a £1.1 billion decrease in imports of erratic items. Of the erratic items, aircraft and non-monetary gold are the most significant movements, accounting for more than half of the decrease. Although removing the effect of these erratic items raises the import level considerably, sizeable decreases in fuels (£0.6 billion) and chemicals (£0.3 billion) still have a substantial effect on the import market.
Exports to countries within the EU decreased marginally (less than £0.1 billion). Imports from countries within the EU fell by £0.2 billion, reflecting falls in machinery and transport equipment and chemicals.
Trade with countries outside of the EU accounted for roughly 90% of the total fall in exports and imports between July 2014 and August 2014; partly caused by the strength of trade in July. In August, exports to countries outside the EU fell £0.6 billion and imports fell £1.8 billion; the lowest import level reached since April 2010. In terms of commodities, the entire decrease in exports and imports of fuels was due to countries outside the EU. Excluding the imports of erratic items, which fell by £1.0 billion, trade in fuels, particularly oil, was the most influential commodity in August 2014.