The Office for National Statistics has published figures showing that exports from the UK increased in August, compared with July. The trade deficit narrowed more than expected with exports rising and imports falling slightly. The reduction in imports was inevitable with domestic demand falling and retail confidence low, and this is good news for the government, hoping that exports will compensate for low consumption at home.
Export values were the highest since monthly records began in 1998. The the rise in exports of goods was driven by exports of fuels to non-EU countries, followed by exports of intermediate goods such as components and unfinished products and then food, drink and tobacco, mainly to EU countries.
The United States was by far the biggest export market for the UK in August and exports to the US continued to rise. But exports to the next three biggest partners – Germany, France and the Netherlands – fell in value terms.