UK Trade Deficit Widens in January


The UK trade deficit widened to GBP 3.83 billion in January 2019 from an upwardly revised GBP 3.45 billion in the previous month and compared with market expectations of a GBP 3.5 billion gap. Exports rose 2.3 percent month-over-month to GBP 54.66 billion and imports increased at a faster 2.8 percent to GBP 58.49 billion.

Imports of goods and services to the UK went up 2.8 percent month-over-month to an all-time high of GBP 58.49 billion in January 2019 as companies were storing supplies ahead of exit from the European Union. Purchases of goods grew 3.8 percent driven by food & live animals (9.0 percent); beverages & tobacco (7.7 percent); animal & vegetable oils & fats (23.1 percent); chemicals (10.1 percent); machinery & transport equipment (2.4 percent); and miscellaneous manufactures (5.9 percent). On the other hand, purchases dropped for crude materials (-5.9 percent); fuels (-0.2 percent); and material manufactures (-4.7 percent). Imports of services were almost unchanged. 

Among major trading partners, imports of goods from non-EU countries rose 6.2 percent, as purchases increased mostly from the US (12.6 percent); Norway (1.4 percent); India (53.5 percent); Hong Kong (4 percent) and China (17.3 percent). Meantime, those from the EU advanced 1.8 percent, namely Germany (3.4 percent), Poland (6.8 percent), Belgium (6.1 percent), Sweden (3.3 percent) and France (0.8 percent) while decreased from Spain (-21 percent), Denmark (-40.5 percent), and Italy (-0.4 percent).

Exports of goods and services from the UK increased 2.3 percent to GBP 54.66 billion boosted by higher sales of goods (4.1 percent) while services grew only 0.1 percent. The biggest gains were reported for food & live animals (7.1 percent); beverages & tobacco (7.8 percent); crude materials (3.0 percent); fuels (7.6 percent); animal & vegetable oils & fats (11.4 percent); chemicals (12.4 percent); machinery & transport equipment (5.1 percent); and miscellaneous manufactures (5.7 percent). Meanwhile, sales of material manufacture declined (-6.3 percent).

Among major trading partners, exports of goods to non-EU countries edged up 3.9 percent, of which the US (24.3 percent), Australia (25.1 percent), Japan (9.7 percent), South Korea (7.7 percent), the UAE (4.4 percent), and Canada (2.7 percent). In contrast, sales went down in China (-7.8 percent), India (-33.9 percent), Switzerland (-21.5 percent), Singapore (-16.6 percent), Turkey (-16.3 percent) and Hong Kong (-8.6 percent). Shipments to the EU rose 4.3 percent, as sales increased mainly to France (14.3 percent), Spain (6.8 percent), Ireland (4.4 percent) and Belgium (3.4 percent) while fell to Germany (-4.5 percent), and Italy (-2.2 percent). 

UK Trade Deficit Widens in January


ONS | Stefanie Moya | stefanie.moya@tradingeconomics.com
3/12/2019 11:21:21 AM