Trade deficit narrows following record exports in 2018 Q1

Mon 2 Jul 2018
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

uk trade

Statistics released for the year up to March have showed that the UK’s trade deficit is narrowing following record exports, due to the “demand for high quality British products” both within and beyond the EU.

Exports of goods and services were up to £620.2 billion for the year up to March, with the current account deficit narrowing by £12.2 billion to £80.3 billion, compared to the £92.6 billion it stood at after the first quarter in 2017. The trade deficit narrowed by £7.7 billion in the same period. Exports rose much faster than imports, at 7.3% compared to 5.7%.

Exports predominantly rose for finished-manufactured goods products, while an increase in services exports was driven by increases in the exports of travel services. Goods exports were up 10% and services exports rose 4.2%. Interestingly, exports grew faster to Canada (+12.7%), India (+31.8%) and China than they did to the EU (10%). Non-EU countries remain the main destination for UK services at 167.4 billion, making 60.4% of all the UK’s services exports.

Every reason to be optimistic

Secretary for the Department for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, said upon the release of the statistics:

“Thanks to the hard work and dedication of UK businesses up and down the country, exports of goods and services rose to a record high of £620 billion.

“Demand for high quality British products remained strong from countries outside the EU including China, India and Canada and we are putting companies in position to benefit from growing global opportunities.

“Far from the negative forecasts after the EU referendum, there is every reason to be optimistic. Our trade deficit narrowed and UK business is delivering for Britain and succeeding on the world stage. As an international economic department we are banging the drum for the growing demand for our goods and services.”

Share your thoughts on the state of UK trade

Are you as optimistic about the state of UK trade with Brexit looming? You can share your thoughts about the negotiations and your anticipated impact from Brexit in our annual Brexit survey: