ONS Released trade figures today for May to August 2017, with several record highs recorded in the three month period.
Key Observations include:
U.K. Exports to the EU Continue to Grow
Despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations and uncertainty around the structure of future trade relations, it seems British businesses are still reliant on E.U trade, with trade increasing 4.1% (£1.7bn) during this period. Nearly half of this amount was due to exports in machinery and transport equipment.
Imports from the EU also Increase
Not just grow, but imports hit a record high in August. The value of goods imported from the EU reached £22bn in August, a sure sign that the British market is still an important one to the EU.
Imports from Outside the EU also hit a Record High
The amount spent on imports from non-EU countries was just shy of the £22bn spent within EU markets, coming in at £19bn.
High Imports also mean Record Trade Deficit
The record import figures mean that the U.K.’s trade deficit increased to £14.25bn in August (from £12.8bn in July). As Suren Thiru from the British Chambers of Commerce observes, it appears that the weakened pound has done little to make U.K. exports more attractive to outside markets. Greater assistance from governments, more initiatives to address skills shortages and efforts to reduce the cost of doing business in the U.K. would all help alleviate this deficit and help the U.K. move towards a stronger export position, post-Brexit.
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