UK trade: July 2022

Total value of UK exports and imports of goods and services in current prices, chained volume measures and implied deflators.

This is the latest release. View previous releases

Contact:
Email Hannah Donnarumma

Release date:
12 September 2022

Next release:
12 October 2022

1. Main points

  • Total imports of goods, excluding precious metals, decreased by £0.5 billion (0.9%) in July 2022 because of a £0.4 billion (1.5%) fall in imports from non-EU countries, while imports from EU countries decreased by £0.1 billion (0.3%).
  • Total exports of goods, excluding precious metals, increased by £2.1 billion (6.7%) in July 2022, driven by a £1.3 billion (7.9%) increase in exports to EU countries, while exports to non-EU countries increased by £0.8 billion (5.4%).
  • The increase in exports to EU countries in July 2022 was primarily driven by higher exports of fuels, and machinery and transport equipment, which increased by £0.8 billion and £0.4 billion respectively.
  • The total trade in goods and services deficit, excluding precious metals, widened by £1.2 billion to £27.0 billion in the three months to July 2022 compared with the three months to April 2022.
  • The trade in goods deficit, excluding precious metals, widened by £0.6 billion to £61.6 billion in the three months to July 2022, driven by a £7.8 billion increase in goods imports.

  • Early estimates suggest the trade in services surplus narrowed by £0.7 billion to £34.6 billion in the three months to July 2022, driven by a £2.0 billion increase in services imports.

  • Removing the effect of inflation, the total trade deficit, excluding precious metals, narrowed by £2.0 billion to £20.8 billion in the three months to July 2022.

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Please note that all trade figures exclude non-monetary gold and other precious metals unless otherwise stated. This is because movements in non-monetary gold, an important component of precious metals, can be large and highly volatile, distorting underlying trends in goods exports and imports.

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2. Changes affecting UK trade statistics

EU imports

In January 2022, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) implemented a data collection change affecting data on imports from the EU to Great Britain (GB). HMRC has investigated the scale of this transition and concluded that there is a discontinuity of around 6% by value between the two compilation methods.

We are considering possible options to account for this discontinuity. We continue to advise caution when interpreting monthly trade statistics and will keep users informed of any further changes in data collection.

Alongside this data collection change, the introduction of Staged Customs Controls (SCC) in 2021 allowed the customs declaration to be reported up to 175 days after the date of import for imports of non-controlled goods from the EU to GB. Full customs controls were introduced in January 2022, as such June 2022 was the final month that allowed the submission of any delayed customs declarations under SCC. Therefore, July 2022 marks the first full month of trade data where SCC are no longer applicable, however, it is too early to determine the effect of SCC on import data in 2022.

EU exports

In January 2021, HMRC implemented a data collection change affecting data on exports to the EU from GB. HMRC has investigated the change in data collection methods for UK exports to the EU, comparing the components of trade for 2021 with 2020 (Table 1). In 2021, 82.8% of trade by value was carried out by the same Intrastat traders as in 2020.

The conclusion of these investigations suggests that, when comparing the components that form the trade in goods data in 2020 and 2021, there is a discontinuity of around 5% by value between the two compilation methods. This discontinuity is a combination of data not previously collected under the Intrastat survey, such as Parcel Post (0.3%) and non-Value Added Tax (VAT) registered traders (1.2%), along with a group of traders using a new or different identifier for their customs declarations (approximately 3.5%).

The outcome of these changes affecting UK trade statistics will be discussed in more detail in our article, Impact of trade in goods data collection changes on UK trade statistics, which will be published in due course following the period of National Mourning.

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4. Commodity analysis

Imports

Imports from the EU decreased slightly in July 2022, with a £0.2 billion fall in imports of machinery and transport equipment and a £0.1 billion decrease in imports of crude materials, partially offset by small increases in most other commodities (Figure 2). The fall in imports of machinery and transport equipment in July 2022 was because of reduced car imports from Germany and Spain.

Imports of most commodities from non-EU countries decreased in July 2022, with the largest falls registered in miscellaneous manufactures (£0.5 billion), machinery and transport equipment (£0.4 billion) and material manufactures (£0.3 billion).

Imports of fuels from non-EU countries increased by £1.1 billion in July 2022, driven by increased imports of gas from Norway and refined oil from Kuwait. The increase in gas imports are linked to the System Average Price (SAP) of gas, which increased in July to levels last seen in April 2022.

The increase in fuels imports was partially offset by a £0.4 billion fall in crude oil and £0.1 billion fall in gas imports from the United States. In previous months, the UK has imported Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from the United States to regasify then export to Europe. However, in July 2022, the pipelines were operating overcapacity and could not continue as such because of safety concerns, resulting in reduced demand for LNG from the United States.

Figure 2: Imports of goods from EU countries decreased in July 2022, driven by reduced car imports

EU and non-EU goods imports by commodity, July 2020 to July 2022

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Notes:
  1. Caution should be taken when interpreting these data as HM Revenue and Customs changed the collection methods for EU trade from January 2022. Our article, Impact of trade in goods data collection changes on UK trade statistics provides more detail.
Download the data

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Exports

Increases in exports to the EU were driven by increased exports of fuels (£0.8 billion) and machinery and transport equipment (£0.4 billion) along with smaller increases in most other commodities (Figure 3). Increases in exports of machinery and transport equipment to the EU were because of increased exports of mechanical machinery to Germany. The rise in fuel exports was driven by increased exports of refined oil and gas to the Netherlands and crude oil to France. While imports of LNG have reduced in July 2022, the UK continues to export gas to continental Europe.

Exports to non-EU countries in July 2022 increased across all commodities except fuels, which decreased by £0.1 billion. Exports of machinery and transport equipment saw the largest increase in July 2022, rising by £0.4 billion. This was driven by increases in exports of ships to Gibraltar, mechanical machinery to China and road vehicles to China and the United States.

Figure 3: Exports of goods increased in July 2022, driven by increasing exports of fuels, and machinery and transport equipment

EU and non-EU goods exports by commodity, July 2020 to July 2022

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Notes:
  1. Caution should be taken when interpreting these data as HM Revenue and Customs changed the collection methods for EU trade from January 2022. Our article, Impact of trade in goods data collection changes on UK trade statistics provides more detail.
Download the data

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5. Total trade balances and three-monthly movements

The UK's total trade deficit for goods and services, excluding precious metals, widened by £1.2 billion to £27.0 billion in the three months to July 2022. Total imports increased by £9.8 billion to £207.6 billion, and total exports increased by £8.5 billion to £180.7 billion (Figure 4).

Removing the effect of inflation, the total trade deficit, excluding precious metals, narrowed by £2.0 billion to £20.8 billion in the three months to July 2022. Exports increased by £1.7 billion to £154.3 billion, and imports decreased by £0.3 billion to £175.2 billion in chained volume terms.

The trade in goods deficit, excluding precious metals, widened by £0.6 billion to £61.6 billion in the three months to July 2022, driven by a £7.8 billion increase in goods imports.

Early estimates suggest the trade in services surplus narrowed by £0.7 billion to £34.6 billion in the three months to July 2022, driven by a £2.0 billion increase in services imports. Imports of services increased to £47.8 billion, while exports increased to £82.4 billion in the three months to July 2022.

Imports of goods in July 2022 were £13.3 billion (33.6%) higher than July 2021 levels, while exports increased by £6.9 billion (26.0%) over the same period (Table 3). As 2021 data were strongly affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the end of the EU exit transition period, we have also compared them with 2018 trade data. Compared with July 2018, imports increased by £11.7 billion (28.5%), while exports rose by £3.1 billion (10.1%).

Total imports and exports of goods both increased in the three months to July 2022, compared with the same period in 2021. Exports increased by £9.0 billion (10.1%) in the three months to July 2022 when compared with the same period in 2018, while imports increased by £37.1 billion (30.2%).

Notes:

  1. Caution should be taken when interpreting these data as HM Revenue and Customs changed the collection methods for EU trade from January 2022. Our article, Impact of trade in goods data collection changes on UK trade statistics provides more detail.
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6. Explore UK trade in goods country-by-commodity data for 2021

Explore the 2021 trade in goods data using our interactive tools. Our data break down UK trade in goods with 234 countries by 125 commodities.

Use our map to get a better understanding of what goods the UK traded with a country. Select a country by hovering over it or using the drop-down menu.

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Notes:
  1. For more information about our methods and how we compile these statistics, please see Trade in goods, country-by-commodity experimental data: 2011 to 2016. Users should note that the data published alongside this release are official statistics and no longer experimental.

  2. These data are our best estimate of these bilateral UK trade flows. Users should note that alternative estimates are available, in some cases, through the statistical agencies for bilateral countries or through central databases such as UN Comtrade.

  3. This interactive map denotes country boundaries in accordance with statistical classifications set out within Appendix 4 of the Balance of Payments (BoP) Vademecum (PDF, 1.1MB) and do not represent the UK policy on disputed territories.

Download the data

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You can also explore the 2021 trade in goods data by commodity, such as car exports to the EU and UK tea or coffee imports.

Select a commodity from the drop-down menu or click through the levels to explore the data.

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Download the data

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Download the data

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Notes:
  1. For more information about our methods and how we compile these statistics, please see Trade in goods, country-by-commodity experimental data: 2011 to 2016. Users should note that the data published alongside this release are no longer experimental.

  2. These data are our best estimate of these bilateral UK trade flows. Users should note that alternative estimates are available, in some cases, via the statistical agencies for bilateral countries or through central databases such as UN Comtrade.

  3. These interactive charts denote country boundaries in accordance with statistical classifications set out within Appendix 4 of the Balance of Payments (BoP) Vademecum (PDF, 1.1MB) and does not represent the UK policy on disputed territories.

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7. Revisions

In accordance with the National Accounts Revisions Policy, the data in this release have not been revised and only include new data for July 2022.

HM Revenue and Customs unscheduled correction

Following the publication of UK trade: April 2021, an error was identified in the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) overseas trade data used to compile the Office for National Statistics' (ONS) UK trade statistics.

Revisions for the period January 2020 to February 2021 were published in our UK trade: May 2021 bulletin on 9 July 2021, taking place outside of the usual National Accounts revisions period in order to ensure the ONS trade figures reflected the most up-to-date position. Revisions for pre-2020 will be incorporated in the annual Blue Book publication in October 2022.

We have published an article providing users with an indicative estimate of the likely scale and impact of these corrections on the ONS trade statistics before their publication in the August 2022 UK trade statistics, which are due to be published in October 2022.

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8. UK trade data

UK trade: goods and services publication tables
Dataset | Released 12 September 2022
Monthly data on the UK’s trade in goods and services, including trade inside and outside the EU.

UK trade time series
Dataset MRET | Released 12 September 2022
Monthly value of UK exports and imports of goods and services by current price, chained volume measures (CVMs) and implied deflators (IDEFs).

UK trade in goods by classification of product by activity time series
Dataset | Released 16 June 2022
Quarterly and annual time series of the value of UK imports and exports of goods grouped by product. Goods are attributed to the activity of which they are the principal products.

Customise my dataset: country by commodity
Dataset | Released 12 September 2022
Customisable version of country by commodity data on the UK’s trade in goods, including trade by all countries and selected commodities, exports and imports, non-seasonally adjusted.

Other related trade data
Dataset web page | Released 12 September 2022
Other UK trade data related to this publication. These include trade in goods for all countries with the UK, monthly export and import country-by-commodity trade in goods data, and revisions triangles for monthly trade data.

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9. Glossary

Chained volume measures (CVMs)

CVM estimates are a "real" measure in that they have had the effect of inflation removed to measure the change in volume between consecutive periods, fixing the prices of goods and services in one period (the base year).

Current price measures (CPs)

These estimates measure the actual price paid for goods or services and are not adjusted for inflation. Unless otherwise stated, all current price data are provided in £ million and are seasonally adjusted.

Inflation

Inflation is the change in the average price level of goods and services over a period of time.

Implied deflators (IDEFs)

An IDEF shows the implied change in average prices for the respective components of the trade balance, for example, the IDEF for imports will show the average price movement for imports.

Precious metals and non-monetary gold

Precious metals include precious metals, silver, platinum and palladium, and it forms part of the commodity group "unspecified goods". Non-monetary gold comprises the majority of this group and is the technical term for gold bullion not owned by central banks.

Trade balance

The trade balance is the difference between exports and imports or exports minus imports. When the value of exports is greater than the value of imports, the trade balance is in surplus. When the value of imports is greater than the value of exports, the trade balance is in deficit. The balance is sometimes referred to as "net exports".

A full Glossary of economic terms is available.

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10. Measuring the data

Coronavirus (COVID-19) data impact

Because of the challenges of data collection during the coronavirus pandemic, we have experienced challenges around the level of survey and data returns for this trade release.

Data sources

Data from the quarterly International Trade in Services (ITIS) Survey make up over 50% of trade in services data. View our UK trade QMI for more detail.

Data from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) are the main source for travel services, historically making up around 8% of total imports. Following suspension of the survey in 2020 the survey has now largely resumed, with a very small number of ports yet to have resumed interviewing. IPS data are being used with a small adjustment to account for the reduction in sample size, and we continue to quality assure our estimates using complementary data sources. However, we advise continued caution when using these data until the IPS is fully operational. View our UK trade QMI for more detail.

Data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) make up over 90% of trade in goods value and are the main source. We have worked closely with HMRC to prepare for the change in collection of customs data, which occurred at the end of the EU exit transition period. View further information in our article Impact of EU exit on the collection and compilation of UK trade statistics.

In line with international standards, our headline trade statistics contain the UK's exports and imports of non-monetary gold. View more information about the ONS's recording of non-monetary gold. Unless otherwise specified, data within this bulletin are in current prices. This means they have not been adjusted to remove the effects of inflation.

Method

Trade is measured through both exports and imports of goods and services. Data are supplied by over 30 sources including several administrative sources, with HMRC being the largest for trade in goods.

Office for National Statistics (ONS) UK trade figures are produced on a country of dispatch basis, which records imports as coming from the country dispatching the shipments. However, trade figures can also be produced on a country of origin basis as is used by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Users should be aware of the different accounting methods used, and the resulting differences across trade figures.

View more detailed information about the methods used to produce UK trade statistics on our UK trade methodology web pages.

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11. Strengths and limitations

National Statistics designation status

The UK Statistics Authority suspended the National Statistics designation of UK trade (PDF, 72.9KB) on 14 November 2014. We have now responded to all of the specific requirements of the reassessment of UK trade and, as part of our engagement with the Office for Statistics Regulation team, we are sharing our continuous improvement and development plans to support UK trade statistics regaining National Statistics status. We welcome feedback on our new trade statistics, developments and future plans by email to trade@ons.gov.uk.

Trade asymmetries

Asymmetries can be caused by a range of conceptual and measurement variations between the estimation practices of different countries. Statistical agencies are likely to have different source data, estimation methods, and methodological, geographical and definitional differences. More information on trade in goods asymmetries is published by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), while analysis on trade in services asymmetries is published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our UK trade QMI.

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13. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 12 September 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, UK trade: July 2022

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Hannah Donnarumma
trade@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 1329 447648