- The UK trade deficit in May 2015 was £0.4bn, compared with £1.8bn in April 2015
- In May 2015, there was a deficit of £8.0bn on goods, partly offset by a surplus of £7.6bn in services.
- In the three months to May 2015 exports to the EU were 13.4% lower than in the same period last year, whereas exports to non-EU were 8.9% higher.
- The May 2015 trade deficit is the smallest since June 2013.
Commenting on the trade figures published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:
“On first glance the trade figures are exceptionally good. However, it would be premature to celebrate the virtual disappearance of our trade deficit.
“A few weeks ago the ONS reported a historically high trade deficit in real terms for Q1 2015, coupled with an unsustainably large current account deficit, so we need to look closely at today’s figures against the longer-term trends.
“Beneath the surface we see that exports incurrent prices were unchanged between April and May and in volume terms exports fell by 3.4%. It’s also important to note that the main reason for the fall in the deficit was the fall in imports, not a significant rise in exports.
“If these figures signal the start of an improving trend then of course that is positive. However, the longer term data suggests that we still have some way to go to close our trade gap for good. Boosting Britain’s exports should be a national priority – this will require greater support for exporters, particularly SMEs, to penetrate growing markets beyond the EU.”