UK Posts Smallest Trade Gap in 7 Months


The UK trade deficit narrowed to GBP 2.74 billion in April 2019 from an upwardly revised GBP 6.15 billion in the previous month. It was the lowest trade deficit since last September, as imports posted the largest decline on record.

Exports of goods and services from the UK decreased 4.3 percent month-over-month to GBP 53.47 billion in April of 2019, dragged down by lower sales of goods (-8.4 percent) while those of services rose (0.9 percent). Within goods commodities, the largest declines were registered in shipments of machinery & transport equipment (-13.1 percent); miscellaneous manufactures (-10.7 percent); chemicals (-8.3 percent); crude materials (-10 percent) and food & live animals (-13 percent).

Among major trading partners, exports of goods to the EU slumped 15.2 percent, namely to Germany (-3.9 percent), France (-17 percent), Ireland (-9.7 percent), the Netherlands (-13.1 percent) and Italy (-5.9 percent). Also, sales to non-EU countries dropped 1.5 percent, of which Hong Kong (-38.5 percent), Japan (-6.1 percent), the UAE (-39.6 percent) and Australia (-10.4 percent), but they rose to China (3.2 percent), India (8 percent), the US (4.7 percent).

Imports of goods and services to the UK shrank 9.3 percent to GBP 56.21 billion, the largest decline so far, led by purchases of goods (-12.7 percent) while they increased for services (0.9 percent). Within goods commodities, imports went down primarily for machinery & transport equipment (-9.6 percent); miscellaneous manufactures (-7.4 percent), unspecified goods (-40.8 percent); chemicals (-30.3 percent); fuels (-4.4 percent) and beverages & tobacco (-15.7 percent).

Among major trading partners, imports of goods from the EU tumbled 16.4 percent, primarily Germany (-12.3 percent), the Netherlands (-27.2 percent), France (-24.3 percent), Italy (-9.1 percent), Belgium (-8.4 percent) and Spain (-16.2 percent). Meantime, purchases from non-EU countries shrank 8.5 percent, mostly the US (-13.2 percent), China (-1.2 percent), Switzerland (-4.1 percent), Australia (-41 percent) and India (-4.1 percent).

UK Posts Smallest Trade Gap in 7 Months


ONS | Luisa Carvalho | luisa.carvalho@tradingeconomics.com
6/10/2019 11:07:22 AM