Trade with EU drives services sector exports
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.