UK exports remain at record high

The International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox comments on the latest ONS trade figures.

There’s good news for the UK as the latest trade figures show demand for British goods and services is higher than ever with exports at record high of £620 billion in the year to May 2018.

In data released by the British Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Tuesday, 10 July, UK exports to the world rose by £30 billion – an increase of 5.2% compared to the same time last year.

The country’s renowned service sector continues to thrive with exports up 3.1% to a record high of £279 billion, increasing the service surplus to £111 billion.

Goods exports also rose strongly by 6.9% to £341 billion.

On an annual basis, exports continue to grow faster than imports for the tenth consecutive month with the overall trade deficit narrowing by £4 billion from £30 billion to £26 billion in the year to May 2018.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

There’s a lot to be proud of with football potentially coming home and demand for UK goods and services being higher than ever before. The latest trade figures are further good news as overall exports rose to £620 billion and the trade deficit continued to narrow by £4 billion.

We’re seeing a shift in the UK where we’re continuing to sell more than we buy. My international economic department will work with companies across the country to ensure they’re making the most of global opportunities.

Edwin Morgan, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:

Whatever happens to the UK over the coming decades, we know that boosting international trade is a vital path towards future prosperity. Increasing exports should be a high priority for the whole of government, spearheaded by DIT.

There is huge potential in this country to raise our game on trade. Two-thirds of IoD members already export, showing we can create the products and services the world wants, and if we could only slightly increase the proportion of firms overall who trade the gains could be enormous.

The good news is that there are steps we can be taking now to encourage exporters to increase sales, and help more companies take that first leap into international markets. DIT has been working with business to develop the new export strategy, and we are very optimistic that government can use the tools at its disposal to make ‘global Britain’ a reality.

Separate figures released by the ONS last week showed UK exports grew faster to Canada (up 12.7%), India (31.8%) and China (15.3%) than to the EU (10%).

Non-EU countries remain the main destination for UK services (£167.4 billion), making up 60.4% of all services exports.

The UK’s current account deficit also narrowed to £80.3 billion, down by £12.2 billion from 12 months earlier. This is the narrowest deficit as a percentage of GDP since 2012.

The country also remains a strong destination for investment with nearly 76,000 new jobs created as a result of inward investment from foreign direct investment projects in 2017 / 18, more than the previous year.

Figures from the Department for International Trade published this week show 2,072 new projects recorded, creating 75,968 new jobs and safeguarding 15,063, amounting to nearly 1,500 new jobs per week across the country.

Background information:
Find latest ONS:

UK trade statistics
balance of payments data

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