UK Trade Gap Narrows in March


The UK trade deficit shrank to GBP 5.41 billion in March 2019 from an upwardly revised GBP 6.22 billion in the previous month.

Exports of goods and services from the UK rose 2.7 percent month-over-month to GBP 54.57 billion in March 2019, amid  higher sales of goods (4.6 percent) and services (0.3 percent). Within goods commodities, main gains were recorded in shipments of machinery & transport equipment (1.6 percent); miscellaneous manufactures (12.6 percent); chemicals (0.9 percent); food & live animals (4.6 percent) and crude materials (12.3 percent). However, declines were observed in sales of fuels (-6.9 percent); beverages & tobacco (-1.3 percent) and animal & vegetable oils & fats (-10.4 percent).

Among major trading partners, exports of goods to the EU advanced 3.5 percent, as shipments rose mainly to France (12.6 percent), Ireland (11 percent), Belgium (3.7 percent) and Italy (4.3 percent). In contrast, they slipped primarily to Germany (-4.5 percent), the Netherlands (-0.2 percent) and Spain (-5.3 percent). On the other hand, exports to non-EU countries increased 5.9 percent, namely China (20.4 percent), Hong Kong (57.5 percent), Japan (18.2 percent), India (18.5 percent), the UAE (21.9 percent) and Switzerland (5.3 percent), but they went down to the US (-2.8 percent) and Australia (-6.4 percent)

Imports of goods and services to the UK advanced at a softer 1.1 percent to GBP 59.97 billion, as purchases rose for goods (1.4 percent) and services (0.2 percent). Within goods commodities, imports rose mostly for chemicals (10 percent); miscellaneous manufactures (9.5 percent); machinery & transport equipment (2.2 percent) and material manufactures (2 percent). Meanwhile, purchases fell for unspecified goods (-40.8 percent); beverages & tobacco (-1.8 percent); animal & vegetable oils & fats (-1.8 percent) and crude materials (-0.5 percent).

Among major trading partners, imports of goods from the EU rose 6.8 percent, mainly Germany (6.1 percent), the Netherlands (12.2 percent), France (16.9 percent), Italy (1.3 percent) and Spain (5.2 percent). Conversely, main decreases were recorded from Belgium (-1.3 percent) and Ireland (-10 percent). At the same time, purchases from non-EU countries fell 4.8 percent, dragged down by lower imports from the US (-3.4 percent), Norway (-16.2 percent), Switzerland (-19 percent) and Australia (-24.9 percent). Meanwhile, main increases were seen from China (0.9 percent), Russia (1.6 percent) and India (16.7 percent).

Considering the first quarter of 2019, the country's trade deficit hit a record high of GBP 18.34 billion.

UK Trade Gap Narrows in March


ONS | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
5/10/2019 10:33:16 AM