The deficit on trade in goods was little changed in May, at an estimated £8.5 billion. Within that, however, there was an appreciable increase in the level of oil exports in May. Excluding oil, the balance worsened by £0.7 billion to £7.7 billion, less than in every month other than April this year and at almost exactly the average level for the months of 2012. The surplus on services, £6.1 billion in June, decreased slightly in the latest months due to a decline in exports of travel services.
The trade deficit with EU countries was £0.6 billion lower in May than in April, partly as a result of the higher level of exports to the Netherlands. The trade deficit with the non-EU countries rose by £0.7 billion in the same period, though it remained slightly lower than the average monthly deficit in 2012.
Within EU countries, imports from Germany and Sweden increased by £0.1 billion. Among non-EU countries, imports from Russia increased by £0.3 billion, imports from Saudi Arabia and the USA increased by £0.2 billion and imports from China increased by £0.1 billion. Imports from Israel and Norway decreased by £0.2 billion.
Outside the EU, the level of exports to China continues to grow. In the latest three months the value of exports was 17% higher than the average 2012 quarterly level. Import values from China were little changed, so the trade deficit with China, which had averaged £5.2 billion a quarter in 2012 shrank to £4.8 billion in the latest three months.
Trade prices have also risen in recent months, probably reflecting the lower level of sterling since early 2013. In the latest three months and excluding oil and erratic items, export prices were 2.0 percent higher than in the preceding three months, while there was a rise of 1.5 percent in import prices. This brought both price levels, which had fallen in the second half of last year, back to the levels in the first half of 2012.