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In 2020, the UK’s exports of goods and services totalled £578 billion and imports totalled £586 billion. The EU accounted for 42% of UK exports of goods and services and 50% of imports in 2020.

The UK generally imports more than it exports meaning that it runs a trade deficit. A deficit of £115 billion on trade in goods was partially offset by a surplus of £107 billion on trade in services in 2020. The overall trade deficit was £8 billion in 2020.

The UK had a trade deficit with the EU of £51 billion in 2020 and a trade surplus of £43 billion with non-EU countries.

The trade deficit with all countries narrowed to £3.8 billion in the three months to April compared with a £9.6 billion deficit in the previous three months. Exports increased by 0.8% over this period. Imports fell by 3.1% (both figures in cash terms). Due to the combined impacts of Coronavirus-related measures and the UK’s exit from the EU, trade has not been typical in the recent months and short-term comparisons should be treated with caution.

UK balance of trade monthly

The current account, which includes investment income and transfers as well as trade, saw a deficit of £74 billion in 2020, compared with £69 billion in 2019. The current account deficit was 3.5% of GDP in 2020 compared with 3.1% in 2019.

The current account deficit was £26.3 billion in Q4 2020 (4.8% of GDP), compared with a deficit of £14.3 billion (2.6% of GDP) in Q3 2020.


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