ONS Releases UK Trade Figures for December 2011

The UK’s deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services was £1.1bn in December 2011, compared with the deficit of £2.8bn in November, according to recent figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This is the smallest deficit since April 2003, when the deficit in trade in goods and services was £0.9bn.

The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods was £7.1bn in December, compared with the deficit of £8.9bn in November. The surplus on seasonally adjusted trade in services was estimated at £6.0bn in December compared with the surplus of £6.1bn in November.

Excluding oil and erratic items, the seasonally adjusted volume of exports was 0.4% lower, and the volume of imports was 3.6% lower in December, compared with November. Export prices of goods fell by 0.9% and import prices of goods fell by 1.3%, compared with November.

Kah Chye Tan, head of trade and working capital, Barclays Corporate, said: “The UK is more mobilised than at any time in recent memory around growing its share of international trade and this, combined with a major fall in imports, has resulted in the smallest deficit reported in eight years. However, while British exporters do appear to be gaining more traction in the developing world, UK companies are often outpaced and outgunned by competitors from other developed nations through the direct, contract-winning support of export-focused governments. This will only intensify as developing economies mature and the malaise in Europe drags on, steadily increasing the reliance of all markets on trade.”

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