BCC: Improving trade figures support confidence over economic outlook

  • UK trade deficit on goods and services was £0.6bn in January 2015, down from £2.1bn in December 2014.
  • In January 2015 there was a deficit of £8.4bn on goods, partially offset by a surplus of £7.8bn on services
  • Between December 2014 and January 2015 the volume of exports rose by 2.2%, while the volume of imports fell by 4.0%.

Commenting on the trade figures for January 2015, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“The huge cut to the trade deficit in January supports our short-term optimism about the UK economy, as highlighted in our latest economic forecast. However, the scale of the decline in the deficit is exaggerated by volatile factors, in particular the huge fall in oil imports as a result of plummeting oil prices. There are also positive longer-term trends – in the three months to January the trade deficit almost halved compared with the previous three months, and was the smallest three-monthly deficit since 2000.

“While it is reassuring that progress has been made to reduce the deficit, it is important not to overstate the improvement to the figures – the strengthening of the pound makes it difficult to see the trade deficit continuing to narrow in the coming months. In order to sustain these improvements the Government and the Monetary Policy Committee must do all they can to rebalance our economy towards exports.”