This release covers all of the UK economy’s trade in services, presenting UK trade in services by 67 countries and 32 service types, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.
Exports of services were £1.5 billion lower in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 compared with the same quarter last year. Imports of services were worth £0.6 billion more in Quarter 2 2019 compared with the same quarter last year.
Exports of the top five exported service types (excluding transportation) decreased in Quarter 2 2019 compared with the same quarter a year ago.
Other business services was the largest service type import, accounting for 32.6% of total imports in Quarter 2 2019.
The UK imported £23.3 billion of services from the EU in Quarter 2 2019, compared with £25.2 billion imported from non-EU countries; the UK exported £28.6 billion of services to the EU over the same period, compared with exports of £43.6 billion to non-EU countries.
The UK’s largest trading partner when looking at individual countries for both exports and imports of services in Quarter 2 2019 was the US.
The UK trade in services data have been produced as part of planned improvements to our trade statistics described in Section 3.3 of the trade development plan. In response to user needs, one of our main priorities is to publish detailed trade figures across more dimensions, for example, across industries, geographic trade partners and service types. A large focus for the trade development plan is also making improvements to the quality of the trade figures.
This is the fifth of our more detailed quarterly services releases containing 32 service types by 67 countries. While we currently publish service type by partner country annually in The Pink Book, we have increased the level of detail available and produced quarterly data for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016 to Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019. This publication will also be consistent with UK National Accounts, The Blue Book: 2019, which will be published on 31 October 2019.
We have made significant quality improvements to the UK trade in services by partner country experimental dataset. This is partly through fuller use of the improved quarterly country breakdown derived from the increased and optimised quarterly International Trade in Services Survey (ITIS).
We have now removed the following country aggregates as specified in UK trade in services by partner country experimental data: January to March 2019 on 24 July 2019:
Total EFTA (R2)
Total Europe (E1)
Total Americas (A1)
Total Asia (S1)
Total Australasia & Oceania (O1)
Total Africa (F1)
We have now included a Rest of the World (D5) series alongside Total EU28 (B5) and World total (W1). Removal of these additional country aggregates has allowed us to reduce the number of cells that need to be suppressed to protect confidentiality, meaning more country level data are available. We have also included a further breakdown of 10.1 Research and development services; these are 10.1.1 Work undertaken on a systematic basis to increase the stock of knowledge and 10.1.2 Other research and development services.
Data are provided in as much detail as possible without disclosing the details of any individual companies, but this means some figures have been suppressed to protect confidentiality.
You are advised to be cautious when interpreting changes between quarters given that the series are not seasonally adjusted and few data points are presented. It is therefore recommended that comparisons are made with the same quarter a year ago or between years. We plan to develop these statistics to be seasonally adjusted in the future.
These data are our best estimates of bilateral UK trade flows, compiled in accordance with internationally agreed standards and using a wide range of robust data sources. However, in some cases alternative estimates of bilateral trade flows are available from the statistical agencies for those countries or through central databases such as UN Comtrade. Differences between estimates are known as “trade asymmetries” and are a recognised aspect of international trade statistics, affecting bilateral estimates across the globe, not just in the UK.
We are heavily engaged in analysing these asymmetries, developing strong bilateral relationships with other countries to understand, explain and potentially reduce these differences. A series of analyses shows comparisons and the relative strengths of different estimates, which users may wish to reference to help understand the quality of our bilateral trade estimates.Back to table of contents
The value of UK exports of services decreased by 2.1% between Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2018 and Quarter 2 2019, from £73.7 billion to £72.2 billion , as shown in Table 1.
The value of UK imports of services increased by 1.3% over the same period, from £47.9 billion to £48.5 billion.
|Q1 2016||Q2 2016||Q3 2016||Q4 2016||Q1 2017||Q2 2017||Q3 2017||Q4 2017||Q1 2018||Q2 2018||Q3 2018||Q4 2018||Q1 2019||Q2 2019|
Download this table Table 1: Imports have increased and exports have decreased in Quarter 2 2019 compared with the same quarter a year ago.xls .csv
The value of UK exports of services for Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 increased by £0.2 billion to non-EU countries when compared with Quarter 2 2018, whereas exports to EU countries decreased by £1.7 billion over the same period. The largest country level increase in exports to non-EU countries was to the US, which rose by £0.6 billion from £16.7 billion to £17.3 billion. The service type primarily causing this was other business services, which increased by £0.7 billion between Quarter 2 2018 and Quarter 2 2019.
The largest country level decrease in exports to EU countries was to the Netherlands, which decreased by £0.7 billion from £4.7 billion to £4.1 billion between Quarter 2 2018 and Quarter 2 2019. This was primarily caused by other business services, which fell by £0.5 billion over the same period.
It is important to note that these estimates for UK services exports are not seasonally adjusted. Therefore, some variation from quarter to quarter will be explained by the time of the year, where trade in some services could be more common than at other times of the year. An example of this would be an increase of trade in travel services over the summer period.Back to table of contents
The United States (US) remains the UK’s largest services export partner, accounting for £17.3 billion, or 24.0%, of all UK exports of services in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 (Table 2). The value of exports to Germany was the second-highest at £4.8 billion, with exports to France the third-highest at £4.2 billion.
Of the top 10 exporting countries, the US had the largest increase of exports between Quarter 2 2018 and Quarter 2 2019, amounting to £0.6 billion. The US and Italy were the only countries in the top 10 whose exports increased during this period. The Netherlands had the largest decrease of exports at £0.7 billion.
Exports to Germany and France were equivalent to 6.6% and 5.8% of total UK services exports, respectively. Taken together, UK exports to the top three countries accounted for 36.4% of all UK services exports in Quarter 2 2019.
|Country||£ million||Percentage of total exports|
|Rest of the World||28,327||27,791||38.4||38.5|
Download this table Table 2: The US was the UK’s largest services export partner in Quarter 2 2019 at £17.3 billion.xls .csv
Comparing Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 with the same quarter a year ago for the top five export service types, transportation had the largest value increase at £0.2 billion; this is an increase of 2.6%. The other export service types all saw a decrease in value when comparing Quarter 2 2019 with Quarter 2 2019.Could this be changed to The other export service types all saw a decrease in value when comparing Quarter 2 2018 with Quarter 2 2019.
Other business services, which includes research and development; professional and management consulting services; and technical, trade-related and other business services not included elsewhere, continues to be the largest export service type, accounting for 31.7% of total services exports in Quarter 2 2019.
|Service type||£ million|| Percentages|
of total service exports
|Other business services||23,043||22,887||31.3||31.7|
|Insurance and pension||5,139||5,056||7.0||7.0|
|Other service types||12,634||13,039||17.1||18.1|
Download this table Table 3: Other business services accounted for 31.7% of total service exports in Quarter 2 2019.xls .csv
Figure 2 shows the value for each component of other business services in Quarter 2 2019. Legal, accounting, management consulting and public relations made up the largest share of other business services, accounting for 35.8%.
Legal, accounting, management consulting, and public relations is a subcomponent of professional and management consulting services.
In Quarter 2 2019, the United States (US) was the UK’s largest export partner for other business services, accounting for 30.3%. The £6.9 billion worth of exports of other business services to the US was primarily caused by £3.4 billion worth of exports of professional and management consulting services.
Ireland was the second-largest export partner for other business services, followed by Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands (Figure 3). The top five services export partners accounted for 53.7% of total exports of other business services.
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The value of UK imports of services from non-EU countries increased by £0.7 billion in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 compared with Quarter 2 2018. The largest increase of imports from non-EU countries was from the United States (US), which increased by £0.5 billion from £8.7 billion to £9.2 billion. The service type primarily causing this was other business services, which increased by £0.3 billion between Quarter 2 2018 and Quarter 2 2019.
Imports of services from the EU decreased by £0.1 billion in Quarter 2 2019 compared with Quarter 2 2018. The largest decrease of imports from the EU was from Ireland, which fell by £0.5 billion from £2.4 billion to £1.9 billion. The service type primarily causing this was other business services, which decreased by £0.5 billion during this period.
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The US remains the UK’s largest services import partner, accounting for £9.2 billion, or 19.1%, of imports of services. The value of imports from Spain was the second-highest, with imports from France the third-highest. Imports from Spain and France were equivalent to 8.1% and 8.0% of total UK services imports, respectively (Table 4). The top three countries accounted for 35.2% of all UK services imports.
|Country||£ million||Percentages |
of total services imports
|Rest of the World||18,845||18,840||39.3||38.8|
Download this table Table 4: The US remained the largest import partner country in Quarter 2 2019, representing 19.1% of total imports.xls .csv
Other business services was the largest service type for imports, accounting for 32.6% of total imports in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 (Table 5). Imports of other business services saw a 1.0% decrease between Quarter 2 2018 and Quarter 2 2019.
Travel was the second largest import, contributing 28.3% of total services imports in Quarter 2 2019, an increase of 1.1% on Quarter 2 2018. Users should note that these data are non-seasonally adjusted and show the seasonal trends throughout the year, with the majority of imports of travel seen in Quarter 2 and Quarter 3 (July to Sept). Travel imports cover goods and services provided to UK residents during visits abroad of less than one year, excluding students and medical patients who remain residents of their country of origin, even if the length of stay in another economy is more than a year. Transport to and from the UK is excluded from travel and shown as “passenger services” under “transportation”.
|Service type||£ million|| Percentages |
of total services imports
|Other business services||16,004||15,838||33.4||32.6|
|Telecommunications, computer and information services||2,901||2,482||6.1||5.1|
|Other service types||5,760||5,437||12.0||11.2|
Download this table Table 5: Other business services accounted for 32.6% of total UK services imports in Quarter 2 2019.xls .csv
In Quarter 2 2019, the United States (US) was the largest import partner of other business services, accounting for 28.9% of total imports of other business services. Of the £4.6 billion imports of other business services from the US, £3.2 billion was from technical, trade-related and other business services.
Germany was the second-largest import partner for imports of other business services, followed by the Netherlands, France and India. The top five import partners accounted for 54.7% of total imports of other business services (Figure 5).
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We have produced some interactive tools to help explore the data.
Data are provided in as much detail as possible without disclosing the details of any individual companies, but this means some figures have been suppressed to protect confidentiality. The interactive tool will show no data available if the data are zero, suppressed or unavailable at this level of detail.
Select a country by hovering over it or using the drop-down menu.
Figure 6: UK trade in services with the rest of the world, exports and imports, 2018
What about trade in a particular service type?
Use our interactive tools to understand UK trade of a particular service type.
Select a service type from the drop-down menu, or click through the levels to explore the data.
Figure 7: UK exports, 2018
Figure 8: UK imports, 2018
If you have any questions about the new data or would like to provide feedback on these tools, please email email@example.com with your comments.Back to table of contents
Trade in services covers export and import activity across 12 categories:
- maintenance and repair services
- insurance and pensions
- intellectual property
- telecommunications services
- other business services
- personal, cultural and recreational
Trade in services statistics are derived from a variety of sources, though the International Trade in Services Survey (ITIS) and the International Passenger Survey (IPS) form the bulk of these data. Most of our data sources are supplied with geographical breakdowns to enable the production of trade in services statistics by country and service type. If the data source does not include geographical breakdowns, the data are estimated using a closely aligned source.
Detailed methodological notes are published in UK Balance of Payments, The Pink Book 2018.
The UK trade methodology web pages have been developed to provide detailed information about the methods used to produce UK trade statistics.
The UK trade Quality and Methodology Information (QMI) report contains important information on:
- the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data
- the uses and users of the data
- how the output was created
- the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 651988