Reacting to the latest trade data from the ONS, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“There was a noticeable fall in the momentum of UK services exports in Q2, down by 3.9%, following a period of reasonable growth in 2021 and 2022. Unfortunately, this was also coupled with a further fall in UK goods exports to the EU.
“The one aspect of good news about the last quarter’s data was the rise in non-EU goods exports of 4.7%, with noteworthy rises in sales of mechanical machinery to the US and Hong Kong.
“What is really needed now is a greater effort to bring more consistency to our export performance. The BCC’s proposal for an Exports Council would help calibrate UK trade policy – analysing both this shorter-term data and the wider multi-year trends.
“The UK quickly needs to catch up with our key international partners on export performance. It is a key element to raising the economic growth so desperately sought by both policymakers and businesses alike.”
The Picture for June 2023
Goods exports rose by 1.8% in value terms or by 2.3% in volume terms (excluding inflation) mainly due to rises in exports to outside the EU, whereas overall goods import values fell by 5.8% month on month – or by 2.5% in volume terms.
EU goods exports fell in value terms by 0.3% (but rose by 0.7% in volume terms), while imports rose by 3.2% (3.6% in volume terms excluding-inflation) largely down to chemicals, medicines and pharmaceutical.
Non EU-goods exports rose by 3.8% in value terms (3.9% in volume terms excluding inflation) while imports of the same fell by 15.9% (9.9% in volume terms), largely driven by lower gas and crude oil imports.
The Q2 statistics
Services trade remained flat in Q2 – ending a period of growth in 2021 and 2022 in services exports in particular. In volume terms, UK services exports are still 3% lower than February 2020.
Read the full ONS Trade data set is here.