UK Trade Deficit Flat in September

Britain’s overall trade deficit (in goods and services) was £3.3 billion in September, the same as in August. There was a deficit in goods trade of £9.8 billion, offset by a £6.5 billion surplus on services. A drop in exports of £0.3 billion to the EU was accompanied by a £0.4 billion rise in imports. Thus, Britain’s visible trade deficit with the rest of the EU hit a record £6 billion.

Other highlights included:

– The deficit on trade in goods increased by £3.8 billion to £29.1 billion in Q3 2013 from £25.3 billion in Q2 2013. Exports of goods in Q3 2013 decreased by 3.5% to £75.7 billion and were 0.1% lower than in the same quarter of 2012. Imports of goods increased by 1.0% in Q3 2013 to stand at £104.8 billion and were 2.5% higher than in the same quarter of 2012.

– The deficit on trade in goods was £9.8 billion in September 2013. The trade position reflects exports minus imports. Exports of goods decreased by 0.7% on the month to £25.1 billion for September 2013. Imports for the same period rose 0.2% to £34.9 billion.

And, according to the ONS’s overall assessment:

“The value of trade in goods has grown only gently since the beginning of 2007. In that year, and into 2008, there was steady growth as the UK economy and those of our major trading partners expanded. That expansion came to a sharp end during 2008 and, as these economies turned downwards, so did the levels of trade. Growth was not resumed until summer 2009. It was steady for the two years after that, but with the continuing difficulties in many economies in oving out of recession, the value of both exports and imports has remained flat since mid-2011.”

So disappointing. Surveys suggest a strengthening of exports for both goods and services but that is yet to show through in the numbers. More here.

This piece is cross-posted from with permission.