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In 2019, the UK’s exports of goods and services totalled £700 billion and imports totalled £724 billion. The EU accounted for 43% of UK exports of goods and services and 51% of imports in 2019.

The UK generally imports more than it exports meaning that it runs a trade deficit. A deficit of £129 billion on trade in goods was partially offset by a surplus of £105 billion on trade in services in 2019. The overall trade deficit was £24 billion in 2019.

Balance of trade

The UK had a trade deficit with the EU of £72 billion in 2019 and a trade surplus of £48 billion with non-EU countries.  

The trade surplus with all countries increased to £12 billion in the three months to July compared with a £0.9 billion surplus in the previous three months. Exports decreased by 0.3% over this period. Imports decreased by 8.0% (both figures in cash terms). The data suggest evidence of the Covid-19 pandemic-related impacts on trade.

The current account, which includes investment income and transfers as well as trade, saw a deficit of £89 billion in 2019, compared with £83 billion in 2018. The current account deficit was 4.0% of GDP in 2019 compared with 3.9% in 2018.

The current account deficit widened to £21.1 billion in Q1 2020 (3.8% of GDP), from a deficit of £9.2 billion (1.7% of GDP) in Q4 2019.

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