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 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
iJobs Money & Business
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Services Manage...
£Neg. (DOE) + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Finance Account Manager with...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity h...