UK Trade Deficit Widens 57% in December

British trade gap increased to £2.9 billion in December of 2014 from a revised £1.8 billion in the previous month, driven by a surge in oil imports. In 2014, the goods deficit was £120 billion, the highest since records began in 1998.

In December, the gap on trade in goods and services of £ 2.9 billion reflects a deficit of £ 10.2 billion on goods, partly offset by an estimated surplus of £7.3 billion on services. The widening of the overall deficit mainly reflects an increase in the import of goods from countries outside of the European Union.

Between November and December, exports of goods rose by less than £ 0.1 billion to £ 24.6 billion; a £ 0.2 billion increase in fuel exports was almost entirely offset by a £ 0.2 billion decrease in exports of manufactured goods. In value terms, exports of oil increased £ 0.2 billion in December 2014, whilst the volume of oil exports grew 22.7 percent over the same period; reaching its highest level since July 2012.

Imports of goods rose by £ 0.9 billion in December 2014, mainly reflecting a £ 0.7 billion rise in imports of fuels; specifically oil imports (up £ 0.6 billion). The volume of oil imports reached its highest level since July 2008, growing 37.5% between November and December. Aside from fuels, imports of finished manufactures rose by £ 0.4 billion in December, £ 0.3 billion of which was attributed to imports of aircraft. 

Annually, the total trade deficit widened to £ 34.8 billion in 2014. This was the largest deficit since 2010 when the deficit stood at £ 37.1 billion. Both exports and imports fell in 2014 when compared with 2013, however, exports fell more significantly. The widening of the deficit is mainly attributed to trade in goods as exports of goods decreased by £ 14.6 billion from the previous year and imports of goods decreased by £ 7.3 billion; this was the first annual fall in imports since 2009. In terms of commodities, trade in fuels saw the biggest year on year decrease; exports of fuels fell by £6.4 billion and imports of fuels fell by £ 9.8 billion.

UK Trade Deficit Widens 57% in December

ONS | Joana Taborda |
2/6/2015 12:29:42 PM