Narrowing trade deficit driven by increasing exports to non-EU markets

Wed 10 Jan 2018
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today released figures for the UK’s trade deficit in goods and services for the three months leading up to November.

Read the full ONS report

The figures confirmed sentiments from the UK’s manufacturing body this week indicating that exports are increasing – particularly to non-EU countries.

During the quarter, the overall trade deficit narrowed by £2.1 billion, including a £1.2 billion narrowing in the goods deficit. The ONS has highlighted increases in the exports works of art and cars.

The deficit with EU countries widened by £0.2 billion to £23.3 billion in part due to an increase of 0.3% in imports. This was outweighed by a 5.3% increase in exports to non-EU countries (£2.3 billion).

The rise in value of imports from both EU and non-EU countries was in part due to an increase in fuel imports (16.9% and 14.4% respectively).

Though the three month-period as a whole was a promising one for the UK, November as a month actually saw the deficit widen by £0.5 billion. Through November, goods imports increased by 2.1% (£0.8 billion) to £41.3 billion.

Director General on the BBC

Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade, Lesley Batchelor, said appeared on the BBC earlier this week to discuss promising signs for the UK’s exports.

She addressed the need for the UK to improve and invest in export skills in preparation for Brexit remains while sharing optimism around the growth of UK exports to non-EU markets in particular.

She told us:

“It’s encouraging to see exports on the rise – particularly to non-EU markets. We at the Institute will continue to do our bit to ensure exports continue to grow by educating the UK’s traders both present and future. With Brexit looming ever closer, gaining the skills needed to export successfully in the future will only become more important.”