Skip to content

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

Released: 09 August 2013 Download PDF

Key Points

  • UK Trade shows the extent of import and export activity, and is 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 £1.5 billion in June, compared with a deficit of £2.6 billion in May.
  • There was a deficit of £8.1 billion on goods, partly offset by an estimated surplus of £6.5 billion on services.
  • In June 2013, exports of goods to countries outside of the European Union (EU) increased by £1.3 billion to £14.2 billion. £1.1 billion was attributed to the export of finished manufactures, specifically aircraft and works of art. Trade in goods with countries within the EU was relatively unchanged over the same period.
  • The deficit on trade in goods reduced to £24.9 billion in Q2 2013 from £26.5 billion in Q1 2013. Exports of goods in the second quarter of 2013 reached £78.4 billion, the highest on record. Imports of goods also increased in Q2 2013 to £103.3 billion, the highest level since the three months to November 2011.

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 Jun -4.6 -4.8 -9.4 6.1 -3.3
2013 Apr -4.8 -3.4 -8.1 6.4 -1.8
May -4.6 -4.0 -8.7 6.1 -2.6
Jun -5.4 -2.6 -8.1 6.5 -1.5

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Download table

Figure 1: Balance of UK Trade

Figure 1: Balance of UK Trade
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 2: Balance of UK Trade in Goods

Figure 2: Balance of UK Trade in Goods
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

 

Summary

The deficit of trade in goods for June 2013 was £8.1 billion, an increase of £0.6 billion on the previous month and within the range of normal month to month movements.

The trade position reflects exports minus imports. Exports of goods reached a record high of £26.9 billion in June, an increase of £1.3 billion from May. Imports for the same period increased £0.7 billion to £35.0 billion.

In June 2013, exports of goods to countries outside of the European Union (EU) increased by £1.3 billion to £14.2 billion. £1.1 billion was attributed to the export of finished manufactures, specifically aircraft and works of art. Trade in goods with countries within the EU was relatively unchanged over the same period.

Exports of oil were revised upwards for April 2013 by £0.4 billion to £3.2 billion, giving fairly stable estimates for Q2 2013.

Trade statistics for any one month can be erratic. For that reason, it is recommended to compare the latest quarter against the preceding quarter and the same quarter of 2012. The comparison with a year earlier should be viewed, though, with caution at the moment; figures (particularly export data) for the spring months of 2012 were unusually volatile, possibly due to the unusual pattern of public holidays in that period.

The deficit on trade in goods reduced to £24.9 billion in Q2 2013 from £26.5 billion in Q1 2013. Exports of goods in the second quarter of 2013 reached £78.4 billion, the highest on record. Imports of goods also increased in Q2 2013 to £103.3 billion, the highest level since the three months to November 2011.

For countries outside the EU, exports of goods in Q2 2013 increased by 7.5% to over £40 billion for the first time. Historically, the UK has a trade in goods surplus with the USA and in Q2 2013 this surplus has reached a record high as exports increased 3.3% and imports decreased 1.3%.

In contrast, the UK trade deficit with Germany increased in Q2 2013. Exports to Germany in the latest quarter were 7.9% lower by value than the previous quarter and 9.0% lower than Q2 2012. Import values were 7.0% higher in Q2 2013 compared with the same period in 2012. Notably, the UK's balance of trade with Germany has reached a record high deficit in Q2 2013, due to a decrease in exports of oil and an increase in imports of pharmaceuticals and medicines.

This Bulletin also reports on trade in services. However, the information on trade in services is mainly obtained from quarterly surveys, in some cases underpinned by larger-scale annual inquiries. That means that the figures for the latest months are inevitably uncertain.

Longer Term Perspective

The value of trade in goods has grown only gently since the beginning of 2007.  In that year, and into 2008, there was steady growth as the UK economy, and those of our major trading partners expanded.  That expansion came to a sharp end during 2008 and, as these economies turned downwards, so did the levels of trade.  Growth was not resumed until summer 2009.  It was steady for the two years after that, but with the continuing difficulties in many economies in moving out of recession, the value of both exports and imports has remained flat since mid-2011.

In 2012, the deficit on trade in goods increased by £7.8 billion to £107.9 billion (annually). The level of exports increased to a record £299.5 billion in 2012, up 0.3% from £298.4 billion in 2011. However, the rise in exports was accompanied by an increase in imports to a record £407.4 billion in 2012, up 2.2% from £398.5 billion in 2011. Despite these record levels of exports and imports, annual growth has slowed considerably since 2010 and 2011 when growth was seen to accelerate as part of the global recovery from the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009.

Figure 3: Quarterly Value of UK Trade in Goods

Figure 3: Quarterly Value of UK Trade in Goods
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 4: Quarterly Trade in Goods Balance as a Percentage of GDP

Figure 4: Quarterly Trade in Goods Balance as a Percentage of GDP
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Value of UK Trade in Goods

In June 2013, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods was £8.1 billion, £0.6 billion lower than in May.

Total exports increased by £1.3 billion (4.9%) to £26.9 billion and total imports increased by £0.7 billion (2.0%) to £35.0 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 2: Change in Key Commodity Value, June 2013 Compared with May 2013

Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') -256 -513
Cars +177 +44
Consumer goods other than cars +339 +171
Intermediate goods +349 +146
Capital goods +183 +68
Chemicals +221 +420
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals -72 +198
Aircraft * +225 +291

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. * One monthly commodity movements for Aircraft are only detailed where they equal or exceed £200 million.

Download table

In Q2 2013, the deficit on trade in goods was £24.9 billion, compared with a deficit of £26.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013.

Total exports increased by £3.7 billion (4.9%) to £78.4 billion and total imports increased by £2.0 billion (2.0%) to £103.3 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 3: Change in Key Commodity Value, Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') +135 +1,040
Cars -360 +313
Consumer goods other than cars +716 -356
Intermediate goods +814 +412
Capital goods +505 +425
Chemicals +73 +195
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +723 -1,309
Aircraft * : +523
Precious stones * : -424
Silver * : -501

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. * Quarterly commodity movements for Aircraft, Precious stones and Silver are only detailed where they equal or exceed £400 million.

Download table

Figure 5: Value of UK Trade in Goods

Figure 5: Value of UK Trade in Goods
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

 

Figure 6: Value of UK Trade in Goods Excluding Oil

Figure 6: Value of UK Trade in Goods Excluding Oil
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

 

Trade in Goods - EU Analysis

In June 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with EU countries increased by £0.8 billion to £5.4 billion.

Exports to the EU decreased by less than £0.1 billion (0.6%) to £12.8 billion and imports from the EU increased by £0.7 billion (4.0%) to £18.2 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 4: Change in Key Commodity Value (EU), June 2013 Compared with May 2013

Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') -330 -25
Cars +50 +70
Consumer goods other than cars +21 +5
Intermediate goods +9 +69
Capital goods -7 +148
Chemicals +145 +343
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +19 +15

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Download table

In Q2 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with EU countries decreased by £0.6 billion to £14.8 billion, compared with a deficit of £15.4 billion in quarter 1 2013.

Exports to the EU increased by £0.9 billion (2.3%) to £38.1 billion and imports from the EU increased by £0.3 billion (0.6%) to £52.9 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 5: Change in Key Commodity Value (EU), Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section 'trade in oil') +276 -313
Cars +48 +287
Consumer goods other than cars +28 -2
Intermediate goods +66 +66
Capital goods +86 +233
Chemicals -30 +420
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals -26 -175
Fuels other than oil* : -460

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. * Quarterly commodity movements for Fuels other than oil are only detailed where they equal or exceed £400 million.

Download table

Figure 7: Balance of Trade in Goods - EU Countries

Figure 7: Balance of Trade in Goods - EU Countries
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Trade in Goods - Non-EU Analysis

In June 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries decreased by £1.4 billion to £2.6 billion.

Exports to non-EU countries increased by £1.3 billion (10.4%) to £14.2 billion and imports from non-EU countries decreased by less than £0.1 billion (0.2%) to £16.8 billion. At the commodity level:

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

Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') +74 -488
Cars +127 -26
Consumer goods other than cars +318 +166
Intermediate goods +340 +77
Capital goods +190 -80
Chemicals +76 +77
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals -91 +183
Aircraft * : +254

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. * One monthly commodity movements for Aircraft are only detailed where they equal or exceed £200 million.

Download table

In Q2 2013, the deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries decreased by £1.1 billion to £10.0 billion, compared with quarter 1 2013.

Exports to non-EU countries increased by £2.8 billion (7.5%) to £40.3 billion and imports from non-EU countries increased by £1.7 billion (3.5%) to £50.3 billion. At the commodity level:

Table 7: Change in Key Commodity Value (Non-EU), Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on 'trade in oil') -141 +1,353
Cars -408 +26
Consumer goods other than cars +688 -354
Intermediate goods +748 +346
Capital goods +419 +192
Chemicals +103 -225
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +749 -1,134

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Download table

Figure 8: Balance of Trade in Goods - Non-EU Countries

Figure 8: Balance of Trade in Goods - Non-EU Countries
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Trade in Goods - One Month Geographical Analysis

June 2013 Compared with May 2013

Note: Monthly country movements are only detailed in this section where they are equal to or exceed £0.1 billion.

Within EU countries, exports of goods to Belgium and Luxembourg increased by £0.1 billion and exports to the Netherlands decreased by £0.3 billion. Among non-EU countries, exports to South Korea and the USA both increased by £0.4 billion. Exports to both Saudi Arabia and Singapore increased by £0.1 billion. Exports to India decreased by £0.2 billion.

Within EU countries, imports of goods from Germany increased by £0.3 billion and imports from France increased by £0.1 billion. Among non-EU countries, imports from the USA increased by £0.3 billion and imports from China increased by £0.2 billion. Imports from Russia and Nigeria decreased by £0.4 billion and £0.1 billion respectively.

Table 8: Change in Monthly Trade with Significant Partner Countries, June 2013 Compared with May 2013

       Exports (£m)          Imports (£m)
                 
June 2013 Value 1-month Change June 2013 Value 1-month Change
1 USA 3,752 +362 1 Germany 4,886 +268
2 Germany 2,425 +88 2 Netherlands 2,889 +81
3 Netherlands 2,061 -260 3 China 2,844 +198
4 France 1,792 +55 4 USA 2,625 +272
5 Irish Republic 1,522 -29 5 France 2,100 +136
6 Belgium/Luxembourg 1,345 +102 6 Belgium/Luxembourg 1,700 +34
7 China 1,074 +15 7 Norway 1,536 +18
8 Spain 807 +85 8 Italy 1,217 +11
9 Italy 721 +8 9 Spain 1,034 +45
10 Sweden 441 -9 10 Irish Republic 996 +56

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Significant trading partners defined as top 10 export markets & import sources 2012 (see attached table 14).
  2. USA includes Puerto Rico.

Download table

Figure 9: Significant Partner Countries, 1 Month Balances, June 2013

Figure 9: Significant Partner Countries, 1 Month Balances, June 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Trade in Goods - Quarterly Geographical Analysis

Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Note: Quarterly country movements are only detailed in this section where they are equal to or exceed £0.3 billion.

Within EU counties, exports of goods to the Netherlands increased by £0.7 billion and exports to France increased by £0.3 billion. Exports to Germany decreased by £0.6 billion. Among non-EU countries, exports to India increased by £0.8 billion and exports to the USA increased by £0.3 billion. Exports to South Korea decreased by £0.4 billion.

Within EU countries, imports of goods from Germany increased by £0.4 billion. Among non-EU countires, imports from both Norway and Saudi Arabia increased by £0.3 billion.

Table 9: Change in Quarterly Trade with Significant Partner Countries, Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

       Exports (£m)         Imports (£m)
  June 2013 Value Quarterly Change   June 2013 Value Quarterly Change
1 USA           10,774 +348 1 Germany 13,950 +397
2 Germany 7,170 -611 2 Netherlands 8,476 +85
3 Netherlands 6,333 +714 3 China 8,049 -17
4 France 5,492 +311 4 USA 7,092 -96
5 Irish Republic 4,603 -99 5 France 5,990 +168
6 Belgium-Luxembourg 3,880 +253 6 Belgium-Luxembourg 5,103 -105
7 China 3,138 +153 7 Norway 4,815 +303
8 Spain 2,246 +186 8 Italy 3,564 +64
9 Italy 2,129 -1 9 Spain 2,994 +46
10 Sweden 1,321 -88 10 Irish Republic 2,905 +57

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Significant trading partners defined as top 10 export markets & import sources 2012 (see attached table 14).
  2. USA includes Puerto Rico.

Download table

Figure 10: Significant Partner Countries, Quarterly Balances, Quarter 2 2013

Figure 10: Significant Partner Countries, Quarterly Balances,  Quarter 2 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Volume of Total Trade in Goods, Excluding Oil and Erratics

Between May and June 2013, the total volume of exports increased by 7.2% and the total volume of imports increased by 3.6%. At the commodity level:

Table 10: Change in Key Commodity Volume, June 2013 Compared with May 2013

Exports Imports
% change % change
Food, beverages and tobacco +8.6 +1.0
Basic materials +4.3 -4.1
Semi-manufactured goods; of which +4.0 +10.2
Chemicals +3.0 +11.0
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +4.8 +8.3
Finished manufactured goods; of which +9.6 +1.9
Cars +8.4 +2.5
Consumer goods other than cars +16.7 +4.0
Intermediate goods +9.7 +2.8
Capital goods +6.4 +2.8

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Download table

In Q2 2013, the volume of exports increased by 3.7% and the volume of imports increased by 2.2%, compared with the previous quarter. At the commodity level:

Table 11: Change in Key Commodity Volume, Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Exports Imports
% change % change
Food, beverages and tobacco +0.3 +1.6
Basic materials -3.7 +12.3
Semi-manufactured goods; of which +1.7 +1.3
Chemicals +2.4 +2.6
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +0.3 -0.3
Finished manufactured goods; of which +4.4 +1.6
Cars -3.6 +6.2
Consumer goods other than cars +11.6 -3.5
Intermediate goods +5.4 +3.1
Capital goods +4.3 +2.9

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Download table

Figure 11: Volume of Exports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Figure 11: Volume of Exports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Figure 12: Volume of Imports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013

Figure 12: Volume of Imports of Goods (Finished Manufactures), Quarter 2 2013 Compared with Quarter 1 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

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

In June, compared with May 2013, export prices decreased by 0.7% and import prices decreased by 1.0%. Excluding the oil price effect, export prices again decreased by 0.7% and import prices decreased by 0.9%.

In Q2 2013, export prices decreased by 1.1% and import prices decreased by 1.4%. Excluding the oil price effect, export prices were unchanged and import prices decreased by 0.6%.

Trade in Oil

In June, the balance on trade in oil was in deficit by £0.9 billion, compared with a deficit of £1.1 billion in May. Oil exports decreased by £0.3 billion to £3.1 billion and oil imports decreased by £0.5 billion to £4.0 billion.

In Q2 2013, the balance on trade in oil was in deficit by £3.1 billion, compared with a deficit of £2.2 billion in the previous quarter. Oil exports increased by £0.1 billion to £9.7 billion and oil imports increased by £1.0 billion to 12.8 billion.

Figure 13: Balance of Trade in Oil

Figure 13: Balance of Trade in Oil
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Trade in Services

In June 2013, the UK's estimated surplus on trade in services was £6.5 billion.

Exports in June 2013 were estimated to have been £16.3 billion and imports £9.8 billion.

In Q2 2013, the estimated surplus on trade in services was £18.9 billion.

Total exports were £48.9 billion and total imports were £29.9 billion.

Figure 14: Value of UK Trade in Services

Figure 14: Value of UK Trade in Services
Source: Office for National Statistics

Download chart

Records Sheet

The UK Trade record information for June 2013 can be accessed at the ONS Website (47.5 Kb Excel sheet) .

Background notes

  1. What's New?

    Blue Book 2013 and Pink Book 2013

    The data published in this Statistical Bulletin are consistent with the Quarterly National Accounts (1st Quarter 2013) published on 27 June 2013, the 2013 Blue Book and the 2013 Pink Book, published on 31 July 2013.

    Revisions

    In this release, periods from April 2013 are open for revision.

    EU Enlargement

    As of 1 July 2013, Croatia joined the European Union (EU). Therefore, the EU totals in the July 2013 UK Trade release will include Croatia and the equivalent totals for countries outside the EU will exclude trade with Croatia.

  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.

    The Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games made 2012 an unusual and difficult year for policymakers and anybody interested in understanding the behaviour of the UK economy. ONS designated both events as 'special events' under the ONS Special Events policy as they had a potentially significant effect on many key economic statistics. An article published by ONS on 17 May 2013 took a retrospective look at each event and considered the impact on a range of published economic indicators, including GDP.

    As part of the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee there were changes to bank holidays in May and June 2012. The change to the holidays count as a statistical special event in line with ONS's policy on Special Events. In 2012 there were two additional bank holidays in June. This event is not regular, so no adjustment has been made to account for it as part of the seasonal adjustment process. Users are therefore likely to see an effect related to two fewer working days in June 2012 in the estimate of the annual change (and there was also an effect on the annual change in May associated with one extra working day in May 2012). More information on the movements in series in 2012 can be found here.

  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 2013.

    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 (2010) 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, June 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) 43,244  815 1,052
    Total trade imports (IKBI) 44,792  350  650
    Total trade balance (IKBJ) -1,548  482  650

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Download table

     

    The table covers estimates of UK trade first published from August 2008 (for June 2008) to July 2012 (for May 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 9 July 2013. The revisions to trade in goods from April 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.

  15. Follow ONS on Twitter and receive up to date information about our statistical releases.

  16. Like ONS on Facebook to receive our updates in your newsfeed and to post comments on our page.

  17. Watch our videos at YouTube.

  18. Next publication:  6 September 2013

    Issued by: Office for National Statistics, Government Buildings, Cardiff Road, Newport NP10 8XG

    Contact us:
    Tel  0845 601 3034
    Email  info@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    ONS Homepage

  19. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Katherine Kent +44 (0)1633 455829 UK Trade / Trade and Transfers trade.in.goods@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.