UK trade deficit grows
The UK’s trade deficit reached £4.3bn in June, up from £2.7bn in May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.
There was a deficit of £10.1bn on goods, partly offset by a surplus of £5.8bn on services. Export volumes fell by 5.9% between May and June, reflecting a fall in export volumes of oil, chemicals and cars.
Import volumes increased by 0.5%, led by chemicals (up 8.5%), consumer goods other than cars (up 6.4%), and semi-manufactured goods other than chemicals (up 4.5%). Import volumes of intermediate goods, basic materials and food, drink and tobacco dropped by 7%, 3.6% and 2% respectively.
For the whole of Q2 2012, the deficit is estimated at £11.2bn, compared with £7.8bn in Q1. Export volumes fell 3.3%, while imports decreased by 0.5%.
The ONS adds that the changed pattern of public holidays around the Queen’s Jubilee may have affected trade figures in these periods, but Barclays’ head of trade and working capital, Tan Kah Chye, believes the downward trend will continue if businesses do not start investing again.
“Waning European demand continues to hit British exporters with the ripple effects being felt the world over. The only way to reverse this downward spiral will be if businesses start to reinvest some of the cash they’re hoarding, but, until there is certainty over project delivery, the current stalemate is likely to continue,” he says.