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Statistical bulletin: UK Trade, April 2012 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 15 June 2012 Download PDF

Key points

  • The UK’s deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services was £4.4 billion in April compared with a deficit of £3.0 billion in March.
  • The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods was £10.1 billion in April, compared with a deficit of £8.7 billion in March.
  • The surplus on seasonally adjusted trade in services was estimated at £5.7 billion in April, compared with a surplus of £5.8 billion in March.
  • Excluding oil and erratic items, the seasonally adjusted volume of exports was 7.1 per cent lower, and the volume of imports was 3.0 per cent lower in April compared with March.
  • Export prices of goods, non seasonally adjusted, fell by 1.2 per cent and import prices of goods fell by 1.9 per cent compared with March.

Key figures

Balance of UK Trade in goods and services, April 2012

£ billion
  Balance of trade in goods Balance of trade in services Total trade balance
EU Non-EU World
2011 Apr -2.9 -4.5 -7.4 5.9 -1.5
2012 Feb -3.9 -4.9 -8.9 5.7 -3.2
Mar -4.6 -4.2 -8.7 5.8 -3.0
          Apr -4.9 -5.2 -10.1 5.7 -4.4

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Balance of UK Trade, April 2012

Chart showing Balance of UK Trade, April 2012

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Balance of UK Trade in goods, April 2012

Chart showing Balance of UK Trade in goods, April 2012

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Supplementary analysis page:

The UK’s deficit in Trade in Goods and Services increased to £4.4 billion in April, up £1.5 billion from £3.0 billion in March.

The UK’s surplus in Trade in Services was estimated at £5.7 billion in April, down £0.1 billion compared with March. Exports of services rose by £0.1 billion (0.8 per cent) to £15.6 billion and imports of services rose by £0.2 billion (2.3 per cent) to £9.9 billion.

The UK’s deficit in Trade in Goods increased by £1.4 billion to £10.1 billion in April compared with March. Exports of goods fell by £2.2 billion (8.6 per cent), from £26.1 billion in March to £23.8 billion in April. Imports of goods fell by £0.9 billion (2.5 per cent) from £34.8 billion in March to £33.9 billion in April.

EU

The deficit in trade in goods with EU countries widened by £0.3 billion to £4.9 billion in April, compared with a deficit of £4.6 billion in March, as exports fell by £0.9 billion (6.8 per cent) to £12.0 billion, and imports fell by £0.5 billion (3.0 per cent) to £16.9 billion.

Non-EU

The deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries widened by £1.0 billion to £5.2 billion in April, compared with a deficit of £4.2 billion in March, as exports fell by £1.4 billion (10.3 per cent) to £11.8 billion and imports fell by £0.3 billion (1.9 per cent) to £17.0 billion.

Exports

 The fall in total exports of goods was driven by lower exports of the following commodities:

  • Chemicals (down £0.8 billion) to EU countries including Germany, and non-EU countries including the US (particularly in pharmaceuticals).
  • Cars (down £0.5 billion) particularly to non-EU countries, including the US, China and Russia.
  • Precious stones (down £0.2 billion) to EU countries including Belgium, and non EU countries including India.
  • Ships (down £0.2 billion) to non-EU countries.

Imports

The fall in total imports of goods was driven by lower imports of the following commodities:

  • Intermediate goods (down £0.3 billion), from EU countries and non-EU countries.
  • Oil (down £0.3 billion), from non-EU countries including Russia and Libya, and EU countries including the Netherlands.
  • Precious stones (down £0.2 billion), particularly from non-EU countries including Botswana.

This was partially offset by an increase in imports of the following commodities:

  • Silver (up £0.2 billion), particularly from non-EU countries including Taiwan and China.
  • Aircraft (up £0.2 billion), particularly from EU countries including Germany.

Volume and Prices

The volume of exports of goods (excluding oil and erratics) fell by 7.1 per cent, driven by a fall in export volumes of cars (down 23.1 per cent), chemicals (down 11.4 per cent), and basic materials (down 9.6 per cent). This was partially offset by an increase in export volumes of consumer goods other than cars (up 0.9 per cent). Export prices of goods fell by 1.2 per cent.

The volume of imports of goods (excluding oil and erratics) fell by 3.0 per cent, driven by a fall in import volumes of intermediate goods (down 5.8 per cent), food drink & tobacco (down 4.0 per cent), and semi manufactured goods other than chemicals (down 3.4 per cent). Import prices of goods fell by 1.9 per cent. 

Note:

Care should be taken when using the month-on-month growth rates due to their volatility.

Value of UK trade in goods (seasonally adjusted)

In April, the UK’s deficit on trade in goods was £10.1 billion, compared with a deficit of £8.7 billion in March.

Total exports fell by £2.2 billion (8.6 per cent) to £23.8 billion, and total imports fell by £0.9 billion (2.5 per cent) to £33.9 billion. At the commodity level:

Change in key commodity value, April 2012 compared with March 2012

  Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on trade in oil) -44 -259
Cars -485 -104
Consumer goods other than cars +26 -58
Intermediate goods -100 -263
Capital goods -80 -79
Chemicals -780 +38
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -156 -123
Precious stones (see background notes - Interpreting the data) -223 -234
Silver (see background notes - Interpreting the data) +246

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In the three months ending April 2012, the deficit on trade in goods increased by £3.5 billion to £27.7 billion, compared with a deficit of £24.2 billion in the three months ending January 2012.

Total exports fell by £1.9 billion (2.5 per cent) to £74.7 billion, but total imports rose by £1.6 billion (1.5 per cent) to £102.4 billion. At the commodity level:

Change in key commodity value, February 2012 - April 2012 compared with November 2011 - January 2012

  Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on trade in oil) -213 +37
Cars -328 +58
Consumer goods other than cars +142 +604
Intermediate goods -148 -490
Capital goods -502 -31
Chemicals -129 +194
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -40 -112
Silver (see background notes - Interpreting the data) -402 :
Precious stones (see background notes - Interpreting the data) +479

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Value of UK Trade in goods, April 2012

Chart showing Value of UK Trade in goods, April 2012

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Value of UK Trade in goods excluding oil, April 2012

Chart showing Value of UK Trade in goods excluding oil, April 2012

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Trade in goods - EU analysis (seasonally adjusted)

In April, the deficit on trade in goods with EU countries widened by £0.3 billion to £4.9 billion, compared with a deficit of £4.6 billion in March.

EU exports fell by £0.9 billion (6.8 per cent) to £12.0 billion, and EU imports fell by £0.5 billion (3.0 per cent) to £16.9 billion. At the commodity level:

Change in key commodity value (EU), April 2012 compared with March 2012

  Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section on trade in oil) +6 -152
Cars -86 -25
Consumer goods other than cars -58 -104
Intermediate goods -63 -149
Capital goods -13 -44
Chemicals -420 +46
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -75 -111

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In the three months ending April 2012, the deficit on trade in goods with EU countries widened by £1.5 billion to £13.4 billion, compared with a deficit of £11.9 billion in the three months ending January 2012. EU exports fell by £1.2 billion (3.0 per cent) to £38.0 billion, but EU imports rose by £0.3 billion (0.7 per cent) to £51.5 billion. At the commodity level:

 

Change in key commodity value (EU), Feb - Apr 2012 compared with Nov 2011 - Jan 2012

  Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see section 'trade in oil') -84 +50
Cars +22 +221
Consumer goods other than cars -95 -44
Intermediate goods -140 -328
Capital goods -382 -193
Chemicals -32 +117
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -251 -8

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Balance of Trade in goods EU countries, April 2012

Chart showing Balance of Trade in goods EU countries, April 2012

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Trade in goods - non-EU analysis (seasonally adjusted)

In April, the deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries increased by £1.0 billion to £5.2 billion, compared with a deficit of £4.2 billion in March.

Non-EU exports fell by £1.4 billion (10.3 per cent) to £11.8 billion, and non-EU imports fell by £0.3 billion (1.9 per cent) to £17.0 billion. At the commodity level:

Change in key commodity value (non-EU), April 2012 compared with March 2012

  Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see background notes on trade in oil) -50 -107
Cars -399 -79
Consumer goods other than cars +84 +46
Intermediate goods -37 -114
Capital goods -67 -35
Chemicals -360 -8
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  -81 -12
Precious stones (see background notes - Interpreting the data) : -220
Silver (see background notes - Interpreting the data) +268

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In the three months ending April 2012, the deficit on trade in goods with non-EU countries increased by £2.0 billion to £14.3 billion, compared with a deficit of £12.3 billion in the three months ending January 2012.

Non-EU exports fell by £0.7 billion (2.0 per cent) to £36.6 billion and non-EU imports rose by £1.2 billion (2.4 per cent) to £50.9 billion. At the commodity level:

Change in key commodity value (non-EU), Feb - Apr 2012 compared with Nov 2011 - Jan 2012

  Exports (£m) Imports (£m)
Oil (see background notes on trade in oil) -129 -13
Cars -350 -163
Consumer goods other than cars +237 +648
Intermediate goods -8 -162
Capital goods -120 +162
Chemicals -97 +77
Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals  +211 -104
Precious stones (see background notes - Interpreting the data) : +493
Silver (see background notes - Interpreting the data) -427

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Balance of Trade in goods non-EU countries, April 2012

Chart showing Balance of Trade in goods non-EU countries, April 2012

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Trade in goods - one month geographical analysis (seasonally adjusted)

April 2012 compared with March 2012

Within the EU countries, exports to Germany fell by £0.5 billion.  Among Non-EU countries, exports to South Korea rose by £0.1 billion. Exports to the USA fell by £0.3 billion and exports to both China and Turkey fell by £0.1 billion.

Within the EU countries, imports from both Belgium and the Netherlands fell by £0.1 billion. Among non-EU countries, imports from China rose by £0.2 billion and imports from Taiwan and Nigeria rose by £0.1 billion. Imports from Norway fell by £0.2 billion and imports from Japan fell by £0.1 billion.

Change in monthly trade with significant partner countries, Apr 2012 compared with Mar 2012

  Exports (£m)     Imports (£m)
Apr 2012 Value 1 month Change Apr 2012 Value 1 month Change
1 USA 3,428 -335 1 Germany 4,359 -42
2 Germany 2,436 -476 2 China 2,678 +191
3 Netherlands 1,908 +53 3 USA 2,453 -6
4 France 1,703 -60 4 Netherlands 2,428 -103
5 Irish Republic 1,478 +3 5 Norway 2,187 -167
6 Belgium-Luxembourg 1,236 -92 6 France 1,865 -86
7 China 712 -143 7 Belgium-Luxembourg 1,576 -137
8 Italy 703 +16 8 Irish Republic 1,177 +3
9 Spain 680 -78 9 Italy 1,090 -94
10 Sweden 427 -20 10 Spain 978 +18

Table notes:

  1. Significant trading partners defined as top 10 export markets & import sources 2011 (see Monthly Review of External Trade table G1).

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Significant partner country one month balances, April 2012

Chart showing Significant partner country one month balances, April 2012

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Trade in goods - three monthly geographical analysis (seasonally adjusted)

Three months ending April 2012 compared with the three months ending January 2012

Within the EU countries, there were no export movements in excess of £0.3 billion. Among Non-EU countries, exports to the USA fell by £0.5 billion.

Within the EU countries, there were no import movements in excess of £0.3 billion. Among Non-EU countries, imports from Russia rose by £0.3 billion.

Change in three monthly trade with significant partner countries, Feb - Apr 2012 compared with Nov 2011 - Jan 2012

    Exports (£m)     Imports (£m)
Feb - Apr Value 3 month Change Feb - Apr Value 3 month Change
1 USA 10,371 -503 1 Germany 13,087 +234
2 Germany 7,969 -192 2 China 7,829 -123
3 Netherlands 6,275 +215 3 Netherlands 7,402 +161
4 France 5,306 -246 4 USA 7,312 +101
5 Irish Republic 4,437 -35 5 Norway 6,663 -31
6 Belgium-Luxembourg 3,791 -281 6 France 5,603 -240
7 China 2,371 -244 7 Belgium-Luxembourg 4,906 +42
8 Spain 2,142 -105 8 Irish Republic 3,559 +60
9 Italy 2,083 -138 9 Italy 3,417 -124
10 Sweden 1,365 -210 10 Spain 2,890 -73

Table notes:

  1. Significant trading partners defined as top 10 export markets & import sources 2010 (see Monthly Review of External Trade table G1).

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Significant partner three month balances, February - April 2012

Chart showing Significant partner three month balances, February - April 2012

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Volume of total trade in goods, excluding oil and erratics (seasonally adjusted)

In April, the volume of exports fell by 7.1 per cent and the volume of imports fell by 3.0 per cent, compared with March. At the commodity level:

Change in key commodity volume, April 2012 compared with March 2012

  Exports Imports
% change % change
Food, beverages and tobacco -6.1 -4.0
Basic materials -9.6 -1.2
Semi manufactured goods; of which -9.4 -2.8
  Chemicals -11.4 -2.4
  Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals -6.5 -3.4
Finished manufactured goods; of which -5.5 -2.0
  Cars -23.1 -1.8
  Consumer goods other than cars +0.9 -1.0
  Intermediate goods -2.8 -5.8
  Capital goods -3.0 -1.0

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In the three months ending April 2012, the volume of exports fell by 1.4 per cent, but the volume of imports rose by 0.8 per cent, compared with the three months ending January 2012.  At the commodity level:

Change in commodity volume, Feb - Apr 2012 compared with Nov 2011 - Jan 2012

  Exports Imports
% change % change
Food, beverages and tobacco -3.2 -1.0
Basic materials -2.9 -8.0
Semi manufactured goods; of which +1.0 +1.0
  Chemicals +1.3 +2.9
  Semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals +1.1 -2.2
Finished manufactured goods; of which -1.9 +1.0
  Cars -3.8 +4.8
  Consumer goods other than cars +2.3 +4.5
  Intermediate goods -1.0 -2.6
  Capital goods -5.0 +0.3

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Volume of exports of goods (finished manufactures) three months, April 2012

Chart showing Volume of exports of goods (finished manufactures) three months, April 2012

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Volume of imports of goods (finished manufactures) three months, April 2012

Chart showing Volume of imports of goods (finished manufactures) three months, April 2012

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Export and import prices for trade in goods (not seasonally adjusted)

In April, export prices fell by 1.2 per cent and import prices fell by 1.9 per cent, compared with March. This led to an increase in the terms of trade. Excluding the oil price effect, export prices fell by 0.7 per cent and import prices fell by 1.3 per cent.

In the three months ending April 2012, export prices rose by 1.5 per cent and import prices rose by 2.2 per cent. This led to an decrease in the terms of trade. Excluding the oil price effect, export prices rose by 0.2 per cent and import prices rose by 0.7 per cent.

Export and import prices (goods), April 2012

Chart showing Export and import prices (goods), April 2012

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Export and import prices (goods) excluding oil price effect, April 2012

Chart showing Export and import prices (goods) excluding oil price effect, April 2012

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Trade in oil (seasonally adjusted)

In April, the balance on trade in oil was in deficit by £1.2 billion, compared with a deficit of £1.4 billion in March. Oil exports fell by less than £0.1 billion to £3.3 billion and oil imports fell by £0.3 billion to £4.5 billion.

In the three months ending April 2012, the balance on trade in oil was in deficit by £3.3 billion, compared with a deficit of £3.1 billion in the three months ending January 2012. Oil exports fell by £0.2 billion to £10.0 billion and oil imports rose by less than £0.1 billion to £13.4 billion.

Balance on Trade in oil, April 2012

Chart showing Balance on Trade in oil, April 2012

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Trade in services (seasonally adjusted)

In April, the UK’s estimated surplus on trade in services fell to £5.7 billion, compared with an estimated surplus of £5.8 billion in March.

Exports rose by £0.1 billion (0.8 per cent) to £15.6 billion, and imports rose by £0.2 billion (2.3 per cent) to £9.9 billion.

In the three months ending April 2012, the estimated surplus on trade in services increased by £0.4 billion to £17.1 billion, compared with a surplus of £16.8 billion in the three months ending January 2012.

Total exports rose by £0.4 billion (0.8 per cent) to £46.5 billion and total imports rose by less than £0.1 billion (0.1 per cent) to £29.4 billion.

Value of UK Trade in services, April 2012

Chart showing Value of UK Trade in services, April 2012

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Records sheet

UK Trade record information for April 2012 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 2012 are open for revision.

  2. 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.

  3. Special Events

    An article outlining the ONS policy on special events can be found on the ONS website.

    As part of the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee there are changes to bank holidays in May and June 2012. The late May bank holiday moves into June, and there is an additional day's holiday. The change to the holidays will count as a statistical special event in line with ONS's policy on special events. The event is not regular, so there will not be an adjustment to account for it as part of the seasonal adjustment process. Users are therefore likely to see an effect related to an additional working day in May and two fewer working days in June in the seasonally adjusted series. ONS will include commentary with releases as usual, including commentary specifically to help users with the interpretation of statistics in these two months. Nevertheless, caution should be taken when interpreting the movements in affected outputs that involve May and June 2012.

  4. 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.

  5. Understanding the data

    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. 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.

    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.

  6. 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 (2008) 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 entitled Overseas Trade Statistics Methodology describing the basis on which trade in goods statistics are compiled is available on the UK Trade Info website.

    A further paper Statistics on Trade in Goods (384.4 Kb Pdf) (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.

  7. 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 (181.7 Kb Pdf) and what is being done to improve the first published estimates was published on 9 May 2005 on the ONS website.

    Revisions Table, April 2012

    £ million
        Value in latest period Revisions between first publication and estimates twelve months later
    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) 39,419  755 1,011
    Total trade imports (IKBI) 43,840  406  763
    Total trade balance (IKBJ) -4,421  357  602

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    The table covers estimates of UK trade first published from May 2005 (for March 2005) to February 2011 (for December 2010). Spreadsheets giving these estimates and the calculations behind the averages in the table is available on the ONS website 

    An article analysing past revisions to quarterly balance of payments current account data was published in the May 2007 edition of Economic & Labour Market Review (340.2 Kb Pdf) .

    More information about revisions material in this Statistical Bulletin (181.7 Kb Pdf) can be found on the ONS website.

  8. 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 Marilyn Thomas on +44 (0)1633 455708 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.

  9. 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.

  10. National Accounts revisions policy

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

  11. Revisions

    Table 14R shows revisions to the main aggregates since the last Trade Statistical Bulletin of 15 May 2012. The revisions to trade in goods from January 2012 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.

    Revisions to trade in services data, from January 2012 onwards, bring the monthly data in-line with the Second estimate of GDP, Q1 2012 Statistical Bulletin published on 24 May 2012.

  12. Publication policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office. Also available is a list of the organisations given pre-publication access (28 Kb Pdf) to the contents of this bulletin.

  13. Accessing data

    Supplementary commodity data for this Statistical Bulletin (Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics); and quarterly data analysed by industry according to the Standard Industrial Classification (UK Trade in Goods Analysed in Terms of Industries) are also available free of charge as PDF files on the ONS website.

    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. The Time Series Data service can be accessed on the ONS website.

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  15. Copyright and reproduction

    © Crown copyright 2012

    Under the terms of the Open Government Licence and UK Government Licensing Framework, anyone wishing to use or re-use ONS material, whether commercially or privately, may do so freely without a specific application for a licence, subject to the conditions of the OGL and the Framework.

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  16. Next publication: 10 July 2012

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Statistical contacts

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Marilyn Thomas +44 (0)1633 455708 Trade in Transfers / Office for National Statistics trade.in.goods@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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