UK Trade Gap Narrows to 8-Month Low


The UK trade deficit narrowed to GBP 2.32 billion in May 2019 from a revised GBP 3.72 billion in the previous month. That was the smallest trade deficit since last September.

Exports of goods and services from the UK surged 2.4 percent from a month earlier to GBP 54.38 billion in May 2019, recovering from a 4.6 percent drop in April. Sales of goods advanced 3.5 percent, boosted by machinery & transport equipment (7.9 percent), fuels (6.5 percent), material manufactures (5.1 percent), and miscellaneous manufactures (5.2 percent); while sales of chemicals plunged 11.8 percent. In addition, exports of services rose 1.1 percent.

Among major trading partners, goods exports to the EU jumped 8 percent, mostly to Germany (7.9 percent), the Netherlands (17.7 percent), Belgium (23.7 percent), Italy (0.4 percent), Poland (16.3 percent), and Denmark (15.6 percent). By contrast, sales fell to France (-1.1 percent), Ireland (-2.1 percent), Spain (-1.2 percent), and Sweden (-8.6 percent). Exports to non-EU countries dropped 0.5 percent, in particular to the US (-2.3 percent), China (-6.6 percent), Japan (-0.7 percent), Singapore (-6.8 percent), and Canada (-11.3 percent). On the other hand, increases were seen in exports to Hong Kong (24.5 percent), Switzerland (2.5 percent), the UAE (61.4 percent), and India (28.9 percent).

Imports to the UK fell 0.2 percent from a month earlier to GBP 56.71 billion, the second consecutive month of decline, as goods purchases dropped 0.6 percent, due to purchases of food & live animals (-2 percent), material manufactures (-1 percent), crude materials (-2.6 percent), and unspecified goods (-53.9 percent). On the other hand, increases were recorded in imports of fuels (19.9 percent), machinery & transport equipment (2.4 percent), chemicals (3.8 percent), and miscellaneous manufactures (0.6 percent). Services imports rose 0.7 percent.

Among major trading partners, imports of goods from the EU advanced by just 0.8 percent, as increases in purchases from Italy (0.9 percent), Spain (2.2 percent), Ireland (3.6 percent), Poland (7.2 percent) and Denmark (16.7 percent), were partially offset by declines in imports from Germany (-3.1 percent), the Netherlands (-5.7 percent), France (-0.3 percent), and Belgium (-3.9 percent). Meanwhile, purchases from non-EU countries slumped 2 percent, due to purchases from Japan (-1 percent), Canada (-45.2 percent), Russia (-35.6 percent), Switzerland (-27.6 percent), and Vietnam (-11.1 percent). Still, imports grew from China (3.5 percent), the US (1.3 percent), Norway (0.4 percent), and Turkey (5.6 percent).

UK Trade Gap Narrows to 8-Month Low


ONS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
7/10/2019 10:12:21 AM