Aircraft send Britain's trade deficit soaring
Tuesday 23 May 1995
A pounds 200m increase in aircraft imports - equivalent to two jumbo jets - took the headline trade gap to pounds 474m last month from pounds 238m in March. Non- EU imports reached a record level. Import volumes dropped 1.5 per cent in the three months to April, but prices rose 6.6 per cent, partly because the pound's weakness has raised the cost of imports in sterling terms.
Export volumes climbed 2.6 per cent in the same three months. But prices rose too, by 4.7 per cent, showing that British exporters are enjoying better profit margins as a result of the pound's decline.
Jonathan Loynes, an economist at HSBC Markets, said it was a matter of concern that exporters were looking for short-term advantage rather than using their improved competitiveness to boost volumes more. But Kevin Darlington, at Hoare Govett, said: ''Companies don't need the extra market share when exporting is so profitable.''
The underlying trade picture, excluding oil and erratic items such as the aircraft, improved last month. The deficit fell from pounds 375m in March to pounds 303m.
Underlying export volumes were only a fraction higher, while import volumes rose nearly 1 per cent. But export prices jumped 4 per cent last month, compared with a 1 per cent increase for import prices, making for a bigger increase in the value of exports.
Taking the latest three months together, for a clearer impression of the trends, the volume of exports was up in all categories except food, hit by lower shipments of beverages and cereals.
Imports of food rose, led by fruit and vegetables, fish and meat, but other broad categories of imports fell. In particular, imports of consumer goods were down, although imports of capital goods by industry were higher.
Oil produced a surplus for the fourth month running - the first time this has happened since early 1988.
According to the Central Statistical Office, the recent trend in the visible trade gap with non-EU countries is almost flat, although it would look better if not for a large and erratic shortfall in December.
However, Kate Barker, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, said: ''Both our surveys and all the anecdotal evidence paint a stronger picture for manufacturing exports than the official figures.''
- 1 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 2 I might be an MP, but that doesn't stop me fighting sexism with my breasts
- 3 Google April Fools': company unveils backwards search engine and huggable digital assistant
- 4 April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
- 5 Gamers confess the worst things they've done in The Sims
University of Cambridge: Remains of 1,300 scholars are found under building
April Fools' Day 2015: The best hoax news stories from around the internet
April Fools' Day 2015 live: The best pranks and fake stories from around the world
Turkey power cut: Prime Minister says nationwide blackout could be caused by terrorists
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 per annum + commission: SThree: Sthree have an exciting opportunity for...
£18000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Telesales Executive is requir...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you a professionally qualified commercial ...