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BCC RESPONDS TO LATEST ONS TRADE FIGURES

Commenting on ONS Trade figures for September 2021, published today, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

Imports from outside the EU were higher than those from the EU for the ninth month in a row. This was driven by a 30% increase in non-EU fuel imports in September (predominantly oil and gas from Norway and oil from the US), although fuel imports from the EU also rose.

Comparing Q3 with Q2 this year non-EU goods exports fell by 5.5% while imports rose by 2.8% over that period - at a faster rate (2.8% v 2.2%) than imports from the EU.

“Overall, the data shows a 5.7% increase in goods exports to the EU month on month, but EU goods exports in Q3 were still 1.2% lower than Q2 2021. Compared with the position 3 years ago, before EU exit dates changed and the end of the transition period, EU goods exports in September this year were £0.5bn lower than in September 2018.

In terms of imports in goods, it is striking that non-EU imports have been higher than EU imports for nine months in a row. But as the ONS points out, it is still too early to say whether this is being driven by more cyclical factors or by a reordering of supply chains in some commodities.

Non-EU goods imports were £3.2bn higher in September this year than 3 years ago, while EU goods imports were £2.5bn lower.”

Read the full ONS trade data release here

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