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Summary: UK Trade, February 2014

Released: 09 April 2014 Download PDF


Important note to users: 10 December 2014

On 18 November 2014 and 27 November 2014, ONS announced errors had been identified in the expenditure estimates for UK residents visits abroad and overseas residents' visits to the UK within the Overseas Travel and Tourism release (which feed into the imports and exports of services) and in the geographic breakdown of the exports of goods respectively. The errors in the expenditure estimates affected data between January 2014 and September 2014 and the UK Trade releases over the same period; the geographic breakdown error impacted the August 2014 and September 2014 releases although the affected data were from 2009 onwards. 

These errors have been corrected in the October 2014 UK Trade release and users should use that release for the corrected data and commentary.

Consistent with the Authority's letter of 14 November 2014, UK Trade will now be re-assessed for National Statistics status. The UK Statistics Authority plan to start the reassessment in January 2015  but this will be confirmed once ONS's review into the errors in the expenditure series has completed.

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 February 2014 was £2.1 billion, compared with a deficit of £2.2 billion in the previous month. The deficit on trade in goods was £9.1 billion in February 2014; the trade position reflects exports minus imports.

Exports of goods decreased by 1.6% between January and February 2014 to £23.5 billion. Imports for the same period decreased by 2.2% to £32.6 billion; roughly three-quarters of this movement is attributed to a fall in the import of erratics, which decreased by 34.5% from the previous month. Erratics are defined as ships, aircraft, precious stones and silver. Removing the impact of erratics, specifically imports of aircraft which decreased by 46.3% from the previous month, imports decreased by 0.6% between January and February 2014.

In February 2014, exports of goods to the European Union (EU) decreased by £0.3 billion to £11.7 billion; of which £0.3 billion was attributed to fuels and in particular, trade in oil. Imports from the EU increased by £0.3 billion to £17.8 billion, mainly due to imports of finished manufactures which rose £0.2 billion from the previous month.

In February 2014, exports of goods to countries outside of the EU decreased by less than £0.1 billion to £11.9 billion; an increase of £0.2 billion from exports of fuels was offset by decreases in all other key commodities. Imports from countries outside of the EU decreased by £1.0 billion to £14.8 billion. The decrease reflects falls in imports of finished manufactures (specifically aircraft) and imports of fuels (specifically oil).

The deficit on trade in goods narrowed by £3.0 billion to £26.2 billion in the three months ending February 2014, compared with the previous three months. Exports of goods decreased by 2.5% to £72.7 billion in the latest three months. Imports of goods decreased by 4.7% to £99.0 billion in the latest three months.

Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

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