UK trade gap narrows in 2016

Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics released on 10thFebruary 2017 show that the UK’s total trade deficit shrank in December 2016, in stark contrast to November’s massive increase.  Thanks to more UK exports outside the EU post-referendum, the latest figures show a drop in the trade deficit to £3.304 billion, demonstrating a far more positive result than November 2017’s £3.559. UK exports and imports are recorded at record-breaking highs for the end of 2016, totalling £48.822 billion in exports and £52.126 billion in imports. This marks 4.4% growth in goods exports in December 2016, compared to the previous month, reaching a record figure of £28.545 billion.

The improved figures come in response to volatile commodities trading and a marked increase in exports of aircraft, in particular, to both EU and non-EU trading partners. Growth was also seen in exports of trade last year, with a noticeable increase in the export of financial services, particularly in the fields of pensions and insurance. Undoubtedly, the weaker Pound is making UK exports more attractive to overseas buyers and will have slowed demand for increasingly expensive imports.

“It’s encouraging to see that, alongside growth in UK manufacturing and industrial production, exports and imports are seeing positive results,” comments David Johnson, Director at Halo Financial. “This all provides a sound basis for UK industry and trade in 2017, sending a strong message across the globe about the strength of the UK’s economy as the tricky Brexit negotiations draw near.”