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Summary: UK Trade, October 2013

Released: 10 December 2013 Download PDF

Figure 1: Balance of UK Trade

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

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The deficit of trade in goods and services for October 2013 was £2.6 billion, unchanged from the revised September 2013 estimate.

The deficit on trade in goods was £9.7 billion in October 2013.  The trade position reflects exports minus imports. Exports of goods decreased by 1.3% between September and October 2013 to £24.7 billion. Imports for the same period fell by 1.9% to £34.4 billion.

Exports of erratics, which are defined as ships, aircrafts, precious stones and silver, increased by 24.9% between September 2013 and October 2013.  Trade in oil can also be volatile, and this month exports of oil decreased by 11.7%.

In October 2013, exports of goods to the European Union (EU) decreased by £0.5 billion to £12.1 billion, with half of the decrease attributed to oil.  Imports from the EU decreased by £0.2 billion to £18.5 billion. Overall the trade in goods balance with the EU reached a record high deficit of £6.5 billion.

In October 2013, exports of goods to countries outside of the EU increased by £0.2 billion to £12.6 billion.  Imports decreased by £0.5 billion to £15.8 billion.

Trade statistics for any one month can be erratic.  For that reason, it is recommended to compare the latest three months against the preceding three months and the same three months of 2012.

The deficit on trade in goods increased by £2.9 billion to £29.5 billion in the three months to October 2013, when compared with the previous three months.  Exports of goods in the three months to October 2013 decreased by 4.1% to £74.9 billion but were 1.1% higher when compared with the same three months in 2012.  Imports of goods decreased by 0.3% in the three months to October 2013 to £104.4 billion but were 1.5% higher when compared with the same three months in 2012.

Exports to countries within the EU decreased by 5.6% to £37.5 billion in the three months to October 2013, reflecting a fall in oil exports. Exports to countries outside the EU fell by 2.6% to £37.4 billion in the same period. Imports from EU countries increased 1.7% in the three months to October 2013. Imports from countries outside of the EU decreased by 2.5% in the latest three months and by 3.1% on the same three months in 2012.

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 annual surveys. That means that the data for the latest months are inevitably uncertain.

For Q3 2013 both exports and imports of services have been revised as the latest quarterly survey estimates have been included. Exports of services reached a record high of £50.8 billion. This was revised from the estimated £49.6 billion published last month. Within exports, there were increases in other business services and insurance services. Imports of services in Q3 2013 were £28.6 billion, a decrease of £1.1 billion from £29.8 billion in Q2 2013. Imports of transport services, insurance services and other business services all decreased.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. 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.

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