The deficit of trade on trade in goods (exports minus imports) was £7.7 billion in December, reflecting a modest 1.9% increase in exports to £25.0 billion. Imports for the same period decreased by 4.7% to £32.8 billion.
Commenting on the trade data, EEF chief economist Lee Hopley said manufacturers had a strong finish to 2013 and indicators since the start of the year were also encouraging.
“The business surveys have been pointing to a decent picked up in the home market, but the trade data today shows the export story has yet to follow. However, with more confidence that export demand will gather pace through the course of this year, we should expect the official data to follow suit.”
During the month, exports of goods to countries outside of the EU increased by £0.1 billion to £12.6 billion. Imports from countries outside of the EU decreased by £0.7 billion to £14.8 billion, the lowest since May 2010. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the fall was mainly attributable to the import of transport equipment; primarily aircraft and ships.
Copyright Ken Hurst 2014