Imports of goods and services rose by £0.3 billion to a new record high of £52.1 billion from £51.8 billion in the previous month, mainly due to an increase in purchases of erratic goods. Imports of goods from the EU increased by 2.9 percent, mainly from Ireland (26.6 percent), Spain (16.9 percent), Italy (7.3 percent), France (5.8 percent) and Germany (3.1 percent). Imports also rose from Canada (88 percent), Japan (25.6 percent), and the US (5.1 percent); but fell from Norway (-25.2 percent) and China (-3.3 percent).
Exports of goods and services decreased by £0.4 billion to £48.5 billion in February from £48.8 billion in January, due to a decrease of £0.3 billion in exports of trade in services. Sales of goods also fell, mainly to Sweden (-11.6 percent), Canada (-8.5 percent), the US (-5.7 percent). By contrast, exports rose to Spain (8.7 percent), Japan (3.8 percent), China (3.5 percent) and Ireland (1.3 percent).
On the price front, export prices decreased by 0.5 percent and import prices decreased by 0.9 percent. The value of sterling was 0.8 percent higher in February 2017 compared with the January average. However, it remains 10.4 percent lower when compared with February 2016.
Between the 3 months to November 2016 and the 3 months to February 2017, the total trade deficit (goods and services) narrowed by £0.3 billion to £8.5 billion. The narrowing of the deficit reflected a greater rise in exports (3.1 percent) than the rise in imports (2.7 percent) over the period. This was mainly due to increases in exports of machinery and transport equipment, oil and chemicals.