Insights

UK trade deficit eased by surplus in export of services

19/03/2019

The ONS shows that the UK's balance of trade has continued to worsen in the three months to January 2019 - by £1.3bn , although the £2.4bn deficit in goods is offset by a surplus in services of £1.1bn.  It is worth remembering that Brexit has not happened yet, and that "Project Fear", as it was dubbed, has yet to tie up its bootlaces.

We have entered a period of unprecedented constitutional conflict - with the voices of nationalism invoking (misappropriating, in my view, as someone who grew up in the Tyne Valley) the Jarrow March of 5 – 31 October 1936, frustrations and recriminations from Brexit heartlands and hundreds of thousands signed up to march in favour of a second referendum on 23 March 2019. With the refusal of the speaker to countenance a third "meaningful vote" and the likely request for an extension to the Article 50 period until 2020/2021, it feels like Mrs May was correct today to describe this as a political crisis

On a personal note, I would like to express my apologies to our European friends for what should be a temporary interruption to the common sense that otherwise prevails here and - whatever outcome we face - to reassure them that cool, pragmatic heads continue to pursue strong and meaningful trade and cultural relations with our European partners.

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The widening of the trade in services surplus partially offset the widening of the trade in goods deficit in the three months to January 2019. The trade in services surplus widened £1.1 billion in the three months to January 2019; exports of services increased £2.8 billion, while imports increased by a lesser £1.7 billion.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/nationalaccounts/balanceofpayments/bulletins/uktrade/january2019