• The UK trade deficit on goods and services was 1.9bn in August 2014, compared with 3.1bn in July 2014
  • In August 2014 there was a deficit of 9.1bn on goods, largely offset by an estimated surplus of 7.2bn on services

Commenting on the trade figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

 

“The strong fall in the trade deficit is extremely positive, but we must point out the main factor behind this was a fall in imports that was even larger than the decline in exports.

 

“Although this can be largely attributed to oil, it is disappointing that even non-oil exports were stagnant. Monthly figures can be volatile, but even longer-term comparisons show that the UK’s export performance at national level is inadequate.

 

“Our own surveys and feedback from businesses paint a more positive and resilient picture. But as we have stressed repeatedly, the pace of the UK’s rebalancing towards exports is much too slow. Unless this situation changes radically, not only will we miss out on the target of increasing exports to 1tn by 2020, but we will also endanger the UK’s long-term prospects.

 

Much greater efforts are needed to support and promote UK exports so that more UK companies can penetrate high-growth markets overseas.”