The deficit on trade in goods continues to be partially offset by an estimated surplus on trade in services.
The figures for exports of goods have been variable during 2012. This was particularly marked between March and July and may reflect in part the changed pattern of public holidays for the Diamond Jubilee. Imports of goods have shown less variability. These movements have caused the deficit on trade in goods itself to vary from month to month this year, with no clear pattern. However, taking the first eleven months of 2012 together, the deficit has been running at an average of £8.9 billion a month. This is higher (in current prices) than the first eleven months of 2011 when the deficit averaged £8.4 billion.
Trade volumes have generally risen over the past year, while prices have declined. Excluding oil and erratics, the volumes of exports and imports of goods were 1.4% and 0.3% higher respectively in the three months to November 2012 than a year earlier. Export prices (excluding oil and erratics) fell by 3.3% over this period, while import prices fell by 2.7%.
There has, however, been a shift in the pattern of the UK’s trade over this period. In volume terms (excluding oil and erratics) exports of goods to the European Union (EU) were 3.7% lower in the three months to November than a year earlier, while exports to the rest of the world rose 6.8%.
In comparison, import volumes (excluding oil and erratics) from the EU rose 1.8% in the three months to November compared with a year earlier, while imports from the rest of the world fell by 1.7%.
By commodity group, the prices of exports were lower for every group in the three months to November compared with a year earlier. With the exception of food, beverages and tobacco, which was unchanged, the price of imports were also lower for every group. In terms of movement in the three months to November compared with a year earlier, there was a fall of 7.5% in the price of exports of basic materials and also notable falls in the export and import of semi-manufactures commodities.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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