Trade with EU drives ser­vices sec­tor ex­ports

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Anna Isaac

UK SER­VICES firms have reaped the re­wards of the wide­spread global eco­nomic up­turn, a close ex­am­i­na­tion of the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional trad­ing has re­vealed.

Over­all, UK ex­ports in­creased from £39.3bn to £43.3bn, a growth rate of 10.1pc, in the fi­nal three months of 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Of­fice for Na­tional Statis­tics.

The EU drove the bulk of the £3.9bn in­crease in UK ex­ports. Ex­ports to the bloc grew by 8.7pc and made up 3.3 per­cent­age points of the 10.1pc to­tal growth.

For the whole of 2017, UK ser­vices ex­ports are es­ti­mated to have been worth £158bn, ex­clud­ing ar­eas such as bank­ing and travel, com­pared to £78bn of im­ports.

On a coun­try-by-coun­try ba­sis, the US re­mains the sin­gle largest ex­port mar­ket for UK ser­vices firms. Ire­land re­placed Ger­many in sec­ond place, as it fell to fourth. The Nether­lands came in third. Ire­land alone ac­counted for £3.4bn worth of ser­vices ex­ports in the fi­nal three months of last year, com­pared to £9bn to the US.

The EU ac­counted not only for the largest share of ex­ports with the UK, but also for trade in UK im­ports. The bloc ac­counted for 40.3pc of the UK ex­port­ing ac­tiv­ity and 41.8pc of UK im­ports in the last three months of 2017.

North Amer­ica, in­clud­ing the US, gen­er­ated around half as much trade in ser­vices as the EU, with 21.8pc of UK ex­ports and 23.8pc of its im­ports.

While the EU dom­i­nated the growth in ex­ports, the big­gest growth in im­ports to the UK came from Asia.

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