Wednesday, July 9, 2008

UK trade data May 2008: exports to main trading partners remain strong

The Office for National Statistics published UK trade data for May 2008. Lets look at exports to get a clue about the health of the global economy.

Exports to EU trading partners during the latest 3 months compared with previous 3 months were down 1.8 percent and 3.4 percent with Spain and France respectively. Compared to the same period last year exports were up 7.9 percent and 3.2 percent. Exports to Italy and the Irish Republic were up 0.6 and 6.2 percent respectively compared with previous 3 months.

Exports to non-EU trading partners remained strong in May 2008. Exports to the U.S. increased 4.7 percent latest 3 months compared with previous 3 months. Exports to China are up 6.4 percent during the same time period and increased a staggering 40.4 percent compared to the same 3 months last year. Exports to Hong Kong are down 3.6 percent compared with previous 3 months but are still up 48 percent compared to last year.

This fairly strong global trade picture has to be taken with a grain of salt and is partially related to higher prices of goods and services due to inflation. Import and export prices are at record levels. The Office for National Statistics publishes an index of volume of total trade in goods with 2003 as 100. According to this index seasonally adjusted volume for exports to EU countries is down 4.3 percent in May 2008 compared to last month. Export volume to non-EU countries increased by 3.9 percent over the same time period. Volume is down mostly in consumer goods and capital goods which does not bode well for the health of the consumer. In light of higher prices for goods and services export data from Germany (see previous post) have to be reviewed with caution. Unfortunately the Statistical Bundesamt Deutschland does not publish volume data in its monthly report.

click to enlarge

source: UK trade May 2008

Office for National Statistics

read also: Germany's exports remained strong in May 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

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