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Statistical bulletin: UK Trade, February 2013 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 09 April 2013 Download PDF

February 2013

  • UK Trade shows the extent of import and export activity; a key contributor to the overall economic growth of the UK.
  • Seasonally adjusted, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £3.6 billion in February, compared with a deficit of £2.5 billion in January.
  • There was a deficit of £9.4 billion on goods, partly offset by an estimated surplus of £5.8 billion on services.
  • The value of UK exports fell by 1.1% between January 2013 and February 2013, with the value of imports increasing by 1.7% over the same period. The largest fall in exports was in goods to non-EU countries (4.7%), which included a £329 million fall in exports to the USA. This fall in overall exports continued the downward pattern that started in October 2011, although there has been a degree of month-to-month volatility largely due to changes in the export of goods rather than services. Imports have been much flatter by comparison over this period, with services imports being broadly flat throughout 2012 and in to 2013. This perhaps reflects more stable demand for imports in the UK compared with demand in the UK’s major export markets.

Key figures

Table 1: Balance of UK Trade in Goods and Services

£ Billion
    Balance of trade in goods Balance of trade in services Total trade balance
 
    EU Non-EU World
2012 Feb -4.2 -4.6 -8.8 5.9 -2.9
Dec -4.6 -4.2 -8.7 5.7 -3.0
2013 Jan -4.8 -3.4 -8.2 5.7 -2.5
  Feb -5.1 -4.3 -9.4 5.8 -3.6

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Figure 1: Balance of UK Trade

Balance of UK Trade, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Figure 2: Balance of UK Trade in Goods

Balance of UK Trade in Goods, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Summary

The deficit on trade in goods widened in February to £9.4 billion. This was due partly to a low figure for the balance of trade in total manufactures, with exports down by around £0.3 billion on the previous month and imports up by £0.5 billion. This reflects a fall in the export of non-ferrous metals and pharmaceuticals and a rise in the import of pharmaceuticals and road vehicles. In the three months to February, export prices rose 1.8% and import prices rose 1.6%.

Due to the volatility of the monthly trade figures, it is not easy to discern trends for a single month. For that purpose it is necessary to look at data over rather longer periods. In the latest three months, trade in goods was in deficit by £26.3 billion, £0.5 billion less than in the preceding three months, but £1.8 billion higher than a year earlier. Exports to the EU in value fell by 5.2% between the latest three months and the same three months a year earlier, while to the rest of the world they were 0.6% higher. This was, however a period in which trade prices have generally fallen. In terms of volume, exports to the rest of the EU were 3.1% lower in the three months to February, while exports to the rest of the world increased by 1.3% in the same period.

By EU country, exports to Belgium and Germany by value held up better than exports to other member states in February. In the same period, imports from the Netherlands rose due to an increase in trade in gas. This rise was primarily offset by a fall in imports of oil from Denmark.

Outside the EU, exports to the United States fell but exports to South Korea and China both rose.

This Bulletin also reports figures of trade in services. The balance of trade is estimated to have changed little in February (at a surplus of £5.8 billion), though it is at a lower level than in mid-2011. However, the information on trade in services is mainly obtained from quarterly surveys. That means that the figures for any month contain an element of estimation and some of the figures have to be based on projections at this stage.

Economic Context

Indicators for early 2013 suggest that economic conditions remain mixed. For example, the Index of Production fell in January 2013 compared with the same month of 2012 while the Index of Services increased slightly over the same period. The rate of CPI inflation increased slightly in February from January having been stable for the previous four months. The employment rate increased over the three months to January 2013 compared with the rate between August to October 2012 while the unemployment rate was unchanged over the same time.

The value of UK exports fell in February 2013, and the value of imports increased over the same month. This continued the downward trend for monthly exports that started in October 2011 despite a degree of volatility from month-to-month that is largely due to changes in the export of goods rather than services. Imports have been much flatter by comparison over this period, with services imports being broadly flat throughout 2012 and in to 2013. This perhaps reflects more stable demand for imports in the UK compared with demand in the UK’s major export markets.

Exports to the EU increased as a proportion of the UK’s total exports to 51% in February 2013 compared with 49.7% in January 2013 but were down from 52.2% in February 2012. This increase from January appears to be mainly due to increasing exports to a few European markets rather than falling exports to some non-EU markets. For example, goods exports increased to Belgium & Luxembourg (up by £141 million), France (£47 million) and Germany (£76 million) and fell across the same period to the US (by £329 million) and Japan (£18 million). However UK exports increased to China (by £16 million) and South Korea (£49 million), partly off-setting the fall in exports to other non-EU countries.

The volume of total UK exports fell again in February 2013 from January, so that export volumes have fallen by 7.5% since the start of the year. Compared with a year earlier, the volume of exports in February 2013 was also lower than in February 2012. The volume of imports increased slightly in February 2013 from January and is broadly similar to the volume of imports in the same month a year ago. Looking at the general trend in export and import volumes suggests that both have been on a slight downward trend since mid-2012.

The Sterling effective exchange rate is a measure of the value of Sterling against a basket of currencies. According to Bank of England data used for Table 16, the effective exchange rate depreciated by 3.0% in February compared with January and by 1.6% year-on-year. The effective exchange rate has depreciated by 5.3% since September 2012 and has depreciated to an average monthly rate last seen around October 2011. In February 2013, the value of Sterling depreciated by 3.4% against the Euro from January, and depreciated by 3% against the Dollar. Sterling has also depreciated considerably against the Euro since July 2012 (by 8.6%).

Value of UK Trade in Goods

In February 2013, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods was £9.4 billion; £1.2 billion higher than in January.

Total exports decreased by £0.5 billion (2.1%) to £24.1 billion and total imports increased by £0.7 billion (2.2%) to £33.5 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 2: Change in Key Commodity Value, February 2013 Compared with January 2013

              Exports (£m)   Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') -265 -42
Cars +96 +152
Consumer goods other than cars -122 -155
Intermediate goods +61 +342
Capital goods +70 -31
Chemicals -191 +271
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -40 +112
Fuels other than oil +205

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In the three months ending February 2013, the deficit on trade in goods was £26.3 billion, compared with a deficit of £26.8 billion in the three months ending November 2012.

Total exports increased by £0.1 billion (0.2%) to £74.1 billion and total imports decreased by £0.4 billion (0.4%) to £100.4 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 3: Change in Key Commodity Value, December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

              Exports (£m)   Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') +654 -176
Cars +947 +435
Consumer goods other than cars -232 +27
Intermediate goods -40 -102
Capital goods -433 -37
Chemicals -1022 -982
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals      +489   +425

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Figure 3: Value of UK Trade in Goods

Value of UK Trade in Goods, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Figure 4: Value of UK Trade in Goods Excluding Oil

Value of UK Trade in Goods Excluding Oil, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Trade in Goods - EU Analysis

In February 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with EU countries increased by £0.4 billion to £5.1 billion.

Exports to the EU increased by £0.1 billion (0.6%) to £12.3 billion and imports from the EU increased by £0.4 billion (2.5%) to £17.4 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 4: Change in Key Commodity Value (EU), February 2013 Compared with January 2013

              Exports (£m)   Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') -111 -150
Cars +149 +163
Consumer goods other than cars -20 -86
Intermediate goods -38 +306
Capital goods -42 -49
Chemicals -6 +69
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -7 -55
Fuels other than oil               +224

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In the three months ending February 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with EU countries increased by £0.7 billion to £14.5 billion, compared with a deficit of £13.8 billion in the three months ending November 2012.

Exports to the EU decreased by £0.8 billion (2.2%) to £37.0 billion and imports from the EU decreased by £0.2 billion (0.3%) to £51.4 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 5: Change in Key Commodity Value (EU), December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

              Exports (£m)   Imports (£m)
Oil (see section 'trade in oil') -370 -190
Cars +184 +402
Consumer goods other than cars -17 +135
Intermediate goods +163 -46
Capital goods -85 -118
Chemicals -519 -237
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  +31 +18
Fuels other than oil +180

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Figure 5: Balance of Trade in Goods, EU Countries

 Balance of Trade in Goods, EU Countries, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Trade in Goods - Non-EU Analysis

In February 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries increased by £0.9 billion to £4.3 billion.

Exports to non-EU countries decreased by £0.6 billion (4.7%) to £11.8 billion and imports from non-EU countries increased by £0.3 billion (2.0%) to £16.1 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 6: Change in Key Commodity Value (Non-EU), February 2013 Compared with January 2013

              Exports (£m)   Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') -154 +108
Cars -53 -11
Consumer goods other than cars -102 -69
Intermediate goods +99 +36
Capital goods +112 +18
Chemicals -185 +202
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals      -33   +167

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In the three months ending February 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries decreased by £1.2 billion to £11.8 billion, compared with the three months ending November 2012.

Exports to non-EU countries increased by £0.9 billion (2.6%) to £37.2 billion and imports from non-EU countries decreased by £0.2 billion (0.5%) to £49.0 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 7: Change in Key Commodity Value (Non-EU), December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

              Exports (£m)   Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') +1024 +14
Cars +763 +33
Consumer goods other than cars -215 -108
Intermediate goods -203 -56
Capital goods -348 +81
Chemicals -503 -745
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  +458 +407

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Figure 6: Balance of Trade in Goods, Non-EU Countries

Balance of Trade in Goods, Non- EU Countries, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Trade in Goods - One Month Geographical Analysis

February 2013 Compared with January 2013

Within EU countries, exports to Belgium & Luxembourg increased by £0.1 billion. Among non-EU countries, exports to the USA decreased by £0.3 billion.

Within EU countries, imports from the Netherlands increased by £0.3 billion and imports from Denmark decreased by £0.1 billion. Among non-EU countries, imports from Israel increased by £0.3 billion and imports from China and Switzerland increased by £0.2 billion. Imports from Singapore decreased by £0.2 billion and imports from South Africa decreased by £0.1 billion.

Table 8: Change in Monthly Trade with Significant Partner Countries, February 2013 Compared with January 2013

1 Significant trading partners defined as top 10 export markets & import sources 2012 (see attached table 14).  
    Exports (£m)       Imports (£m)
    February 2013 1-month     February 2013 1-month
    Value Change     Value Change
1 USA           3156 -329 1 Germany 4473 +87
2 Germany 2590 +76 2 Netherlands 2985 +293
3 Netherlands 1801 -38 3 China 2749 +199
4 France 1716 +47 4 USA 2368 -37
5 Irish Republic 1515 -15 5 France 1943 +63
6 Belgium/Luxembourg 1360 +141 6 Belgium/Luxembourg 1595 +27
7 China 970 +16 7 Norway 1483 -30
8 Italy 715 -4 8 Italy 1109 -36
9 Spain 710 +10 9 Spain 984 +33
10 Sweden 393 -60 10 Irish Republic 911 -1

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Figure 7: Significant Partner Countries, 1 Month Balances, February 2013

Significant Partner Countries, 1 Month Balances, February 2013, Seasonally adjusted, £ million

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Trade in goods – Three Monthly Geographical Analysis

Three Months Ending February 2013 Compared with the Three Months Ending November 2012

Within EU countries, exports to Belgium & Luxembourg increased by £0.3 billion, exports to Germany and the Netherlands decreased by £0.7 billion.  Among non-EU countries, exports to South Korea increased by £0.8 billion and exports to Switzerland increased by £0.5 billion.

Within EU countries there were no three monthly import changes in excess of £0.3 billion. Among non-EU countries, imports from the USA and Nigeria decreased by £0.5 billion and imports from South Africa decreased by £0.3 billion.

Table 9: Change in Three Monthly Trade with Significant Partner Countries, December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

1 Significant trading partners defined as top 10 export markets & import sources 2012 (see attached table 14).  
Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
    February 2013 3-Month Change     February 2013 3-Month Change
    Value     Value
1 USA           9990 -97 1 Germany 13187 -100
2 Germany 7713 -677 2 Netherlands 8411 +103
3 Netherlands 5540 -670 3 China 7759 +162
4 France 5270 +71 4 USA 7198 -490
5 Irish Republic 4514 +181 5 France 5600 -15
6 Belgium-Luxembourg 3778 +326 6 Norway 4742 +140
7 China 2854 +262 7 Belgium/Luxembourg 4731 -117
8 Spain 2113 -2 8 Italy 3418 -145
9 Italy 2104 +101 9 Spain 2976 +122
10 Sweden 1288 -211 10 Irish Republic 2812 -43

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Figure 8: Significant Partner Countries, Three Monthly Balances, December 2012 - February 2013

Significant Partner Countries, Three Monthly Balances, December 2012 - February 2013, £ billion

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Volume of Total Trade in Goods, Excluding Oil and Erratics

Between January and February 2013, the volume of exports decreased by 1.3% and the volume of imports increased by 2.1%. At the commodity level:

Table 10: Change in Key Commodity Volume, February 2013 Compared with January 2013

  Exports % change Imports % change
Food, beverages and tobacco +1.8 +2.0
Basic materials -1.8 -0.8
Semi-manufactured goods; of which -4.7 +4.5
  Chemicals -4.8 +6.4
  Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals -4.4 +1.8
Finished manufactured goods; of which +0.8 0.0
  Cars +4.2 +7.9
  Consumer goods other than cars -7.3 -5.3
  Intermediate goods +0.9 +5.1
  Capital goods +4.5 -1.7

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In the three months ending February 2013, the volume of exports decreased by 1.3% and the volume of imports decreased by 1.7%, compared with the three months ending November 2012. At the commodity level:

Table 11: Change in Key Commodity Volume, December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

  Exports % change Imports % change
Food, beverages and tobacco +0.3 -3.8
Basic materials +6.8 +7
Semi-manufactured goods; of which -4.1 -5
  Chemicals -8.4 -11.6
  Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +4.9 +2.9
Finished manufactured goods; of which +0.8 -1.1
  Cars +16.7 +4.8
  Consumer goods other than cars -3.8 -0.9
  Intermediate goods -1.1 -1.9
  Capital goods -2.8 -1.9

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Figure 9: Volume of Exports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

Volume of Exports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

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Figure 10: Volume of Imports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

Volume of Imports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), December 2012 - February 2013 Compared with September 2012 - November 2012

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Export and Import Prices for Trade in Goods (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

In February, export prices increased by 3.0% and import prices increased by 2.4%, compared with January. Excluding the oil price effect, export prices increased by 2.0% and import prices increased by 1.7%.

In the three months ending February 2013, export prices increased by 1.8% and import prices increased by 1.6%. Excluding the oil price effect, export prices increased by 1.6% and import prices increased by 1.4%.

Trade in Oil

In February, the balance on trade in oil was in deficit by £0.7 billion, compared with a deficit of £0.5 billion in January. Oil exports decreased by £0.3 billion to £3.1 billion and oil imports decreased by less than £0.1 billion to £3.8 billion.

In the three months ending February 2013, the balance on trade in oil was in deficit by £3.2 billion, compared with a deficit of £4.0 billion in the three months ending November 2012. Oil exports increased by £0.7 billion to £9.5 billion and oil imports decreased by £0.2 billion to £12.6 billion.

Figure 11: Balance on Trade in Oil

Balance on Trade in Oil, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Trade in Services

Note: Most components of Trade in Services are collected quarterly and the latest period for which reasonable quality estimates are available is the fourth quarter of 2012. In order to provide a more complete picture of trade, the latest available data has been extrapolated into February 2013.

In February 2013, the UK's estimated surplus on trade in services was £5.8 billion.

Exports in February 2013 were estimated to have been £15.4 billion and imports £9.6 billion.

In the three months ending February 2013, the estimated surplus on trade in services was £17.2 billion.

Total exports were £46.1 billion and total imports were £28.9 billion.

Figure 12: Value of UK Trade in Services

Value of UK Trade in Services, £ billion, Seasonally adjusted

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Records Sheet

The UK Trade record information for February 2013 (40.5 Kb Excel sheet) can be accessed at the ONS Website.

Background notes

  1. What's New?

    Revisions

    This release conforms to the standard revisions policy for National Accounts. In this release, periods from January 2013 are open for revision.

    Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics (MRETS) Consultation

    The MRETS consultation (107.5 Kb Word document) is now complete. The only respondent to the consultation supported the decision to discontinue the MRETS publication on the basis that the data contained within MRETS will be available as part of the monthly UK Trade release. In light of this response, the decision was made to discontinue the MRETS publication as of the December 2012 release.

    Those series previously exclusive to MRETS (including the geographical breakdown published in tables G1 and G2) are now incorporated in the monthly UK Trade statistical bulletin and the associated online time series. 

  2. Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) Fraud

    Users should also be aware that for some data prior to April 2012, the monthly data does not sum precisely to the quarters for the MTIC series due to rounding.

  3. UK Trade designated as National Statistics

    The United Kingdom Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;

    •  are well explained and readily accessible;

    • are produced according to sound methods, and

    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

  4. Special Events

    An article outlining the ONS policy on special events is available.

  5. Code of Practice for Official Statistics

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference. © Crown copyright 2013.

  6. Short Guide to UK Trade

    Ever since statistics on exports and imports of goods were first collected in 1697 UK trade has been one of the country’s key economic indicators.

    All information included in the monthly UK Trade Statistical Bulletin is on a Balance of Payments (BoP) basis and is seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified. The release contains tables showing the total value of trade in goods together with index numbers of volume and price, figures analysed by broad commodity group (values and indices) and according to geographical area (values only). In addition the Trade statistical bulletin also includes early monthly estimates of the value of trade in services.

    Data appearing in the UK Trade statistical bulletin are also used as a direct input into the quarterly Balance of Payments and National Accounts.

    Interpreting the data

    Monthly commodity movements for Food, beverages and tobacco, Basic materials, Fuels other than oil, and Erratics (Ships, Aircraft, Precious stones, and Silver) are only detailed in this Statistical Bulletin where they are equal to or exceed £200 million (£400 million for three monthly comparisons).

    Monthly country movements are only detailed in this Statistical Bulletin where they are equal to or exceed £0.1 billion (£0.3 billion for three monthly comparisons).
    In months where quarterly and three monthly ending percentage changes for index data coincide there may be small differences between the data for methodological reasons. Quarterly data are the indexed form of an underlying constant price (for volume indices) or consistent quantity (for price indices) series. Three month ending data are the average of the index data in that period.

    VAT Missing Trader Intra Community (MTIC) fraud  

    Import figures for trade in goods include adjustments to allow for the impact of VAT MTIC fraud.

    The adjustments to trade in goods relate only to part of the carousel version of VAT MTIC fraud. This fraud leads to under recording of imports as fraudsters import goods from the EU, which they then sell on before disappearing without paying VAT on that sale. The goods are eventually exported. Such exports are declared and are therefore already reflected in the UK’s trade in goods statistics.

    Changes to the pattern of trading associated with MTIC fraud can make it difficult to analyse trade by commodity group and by country as changes in the impact of activity associated with this fraud affect both imports and exports. However, the MTIC trade adjustments are added to the EU import estimates derived from Intrastat returns as it is this part of the trading chain that is not generally recorded. In particular, adjustments affect trade in capital goods and intermediate goods - these categories include mobile phones and computer components, which are still the most widely affected goods.

    International convention determines that the treatment of the impact is to adjust imports upwards by the relevant amounts of missing declarations (non-response). However, users may wish to interpret short term movements in imports excluding that part of the fraudulent activity that is not included in the import estimates, and for this purpose an analysis of the import figures with the VAT MTIC adjustments excluded is shown in Table 13.

    Definitions and explanations 
     
    A glossary of terms is published in the UK Balance of Payments Pink Book 2012.

    Use of the data

    UK Trade is a key economic indicator due to the importance of international trade to the UK economy. It is also a very timely statistic, providing an early indicator of what is happening more generally in the economy.

    In addition, it is a major component of two other key economic statistics – UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the UK Balance of Payments. This means that there is a threefold potential for UK Trade statistics to inform the Government’s view of the UK economy, as well as the views of others, such as economists, City analysts, academics, the media, and international organisations.

    Notes on tables

    Rounding:
    The sum of constituent items in tables do not always agree exactly with the totals shown due to rounding.

    Symbols:
    ..    Not applicable
    -     Nil or less than half the final digit shown.

  7. Methods

    Composition of the data

    Detailed methodological notes are published in the UK Balance of Payments (Pink Book) .

    Seasonal adjustment

    Seasonal adjustment aims to remove effects associated with the time of the year or the arrangement of the calendar so that movements within a time series may be more easily interpreted.

    Deflation

    It is common for the value of a group of financial transactions to be measured in several time periods. The values measured will include both the change in the volume sold and the effect of the change of prices over that year. Deflation is the process whereby the effect of price change is removed from a set of values.

    Chain-linked indices (chained volume measures) which are indexed to form the volume series in this bulletin differ from fixed base indices in that the growth from one year to the next is estimated by weighting the components using the contribution to value of trade in the immediately preceding year (effectively re-basing every year). This series of annually re-weighted annual growths is then ‘chain-linked’ to produce a continuous series.

    The implied price deflators derived by comparing current price data to chained volume measures data are not the same as the price indices published in this statistical bulletin because the former are current weighted while the latter are base (2009) weighted.

    Changes in trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud mean that comparisons of volume and prices (both including and excluding trade associated with VAT MTIC fraud) should be treated with a great deal of caution.  
      
    A paper (384.4 Kb Pdf) , Statistics on Trade in Goods (GSS Methodological Series No. 36) describing the adjustments that need to be applied to conform to IMF definitions for Balance of Payments and the division of responsibility between ONS and HMRC is available on the ONS website.

    The Overseas Trade Statistics (OTS) data used as inputs to this statistical bulletin are collected and published by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on an International Merchandise Trade Statistics (IMTS) basis.

  8. Quality

    Basic quality information

    Accuracy: Trade in goods figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision in the light of (a) late trader data, revisions to trade prices and revised estimates of trading associated with VAT MTIC fraud, and (b) revisions to seasonal adjustment factors which are re-estimated every month.

    Trade in services estimates have been derived from a number of monthly and quarterly sources. For components where no monthly data are available, estimates have been derived on the basis of recent trends. The results should be used with appropriate caution, as they are therefore likely to be less reliable than those for trade in goods. More details of the data sources, estimation methodology and reliability of the monthly estimates of trade in services were set out in Economic Trends (January 1996 and September 1997).

    Reliability: Revisions to data provide one indication of the reliability of key indicators. The table below shows summary information on the size and direction of the revisions which have been made to the data covering a five year period. A statistical test has been applied to the average revision to find out if it is statistically significantly different from zero. An asterisk (*) shows that the test is significant. An article explaining the past revisions performance for UK Trade statistics and what is being done to improve the first published estimates was published on 9 May 2005 on the ONS website.

    Table 12: Revisions Analysis, UK Trade, February 2013

    £million
        Revisions between first publication and estimates twelve months later
       
      Value in latest period Average over the last 5 years (mean revision) Average over the last 5 years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
     
     
    Total trade exports (IKBH) 39539  756 1 011
    Total trade imports (IKBI) 43181  266  642
    Total trade balance (IKBJ) -3642  489  618

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    The table covers estimates of UK trade first published from April 2008 (for February 2008) to March 2012 (for January 2012). Revisions spreadsheets giving these estimates and the calculations behind the averages in the table is available on the ONS website.  
     
    An article (2.33 Mb Pdf) analysing past revisions to quarterly balance of payments current account data was published in the May 2007 edition of Economic & Labour Market Review. It is available on the ONS website.

    More information about revisions material in this Statistical Bulletin can be found on the ONS website.

  9. Coherence

    EU enlargement and country coverage: Two more countries joined the EU from 1 January 2007. These countries were Bulgaria and Romania. In addition, the coverage of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) countries was extended to include Slovenia. In order to enable users to make long-run comparisons, data for the new definition EU and non-EU was produced from January 1998 onwards for value, and from January 1999 onwards for volume and price indices. At the same time data for the old definitions were no longer maintained. There are additional series for country groupings on the old definitions.

    The coverage of EMU countries was extended to cover Cyprus and Malta from July 2008, Slovakia from January 2009, and Estonia from January 2011. Some EU and non-EU breakdowns of commodity data for Chained Volume Measures which are available from the Statbase® service may be less reliable than the current price data. Please consult Stephen Curtis on 01633 456626 if you are considering using them.
    Data have been combined for the United States and Puerto Rico, and for Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah (the United Arab Emirates) from January 2009 onwards. Estimates are separately available for the United States and Dubai up until the end of 2008 on request.

  10. Summary quality report

    A Summary Quality Report (91.3 Kb Pdf) for this Statistical Bulletin and associated data can be found on the ONS website.

  11. National Accounts revisions policy

    National Accounts revision policy (27.8 Kb Pdf) can be found on the ONS website.

  12. Revisions

    Revisions Table 17R shows revisions to the main aggregates since the last Trade Statistical Bulletin of 12 March 2013. The revisions to trade in goods from January 2013 reflect revised data from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and other data suppliers, revised estimates of trading associated with VAT MTIC fraud, later survey data on trade prices and a re-assessment of seasonal factors.

  13. Publication policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.

  14. Accessing data

    Supplementary quarterly data analysed by industry according to the Classification of Product by Activity 08 (UK Trade in Goods Analysed in Terms of Industries ) are also available.

    The complete run of data in the tables of this Statistical Bulletin are also available to view and download in other electronic formats free of charge using the ONS Time Series Data website service. Users can download the complete Statistical Bulletin in a choice of zipped formats, or view and download their own selections of individual series.

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  18. Next publication:  10 May 2013

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Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Stephen Curtis +44 (0)1633 456626 UK Trade / Trade and Transfers trade.in.goods@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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