UK’s export volumes fell 4.9 per cent in June, the biggest monthly fall since June 2016. Imports were up 1.5 per cent. Manufacturing also stagnated in the month and construction went backwards, adding to the impression of Britain losing momentum as the clock ticks towards Brexit in 2019.
Since last June’s Brexit vote, goods export volumes, excluding erratic items such as non-monetary gold and aircraft, are up six per cent. But over that period import volumes are also up 6.3 per cent, suggesting no contribution to GDP growth from net goods trade. Manufacturing output was unchanged in June. Transport equipment output volumes sank by 3.2 per cent in the month, making the largest contribution to downward pressure.
Overall industrial output grew 0.5 per cent in June, driven by higher oil production. Construction output is estimated to have fallen 0.1 per cent in the month, following a 0.4 per cent contraction in May. The overall economy is estimated to have grown 0.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2017, a marginal improvement on the 0.2 per cent seen in the first quarter, but well down from the 0.7 per cent growth in the final quarter of 2016. The main reason for the slowdown is a sharp fall in consumer spending, as higher inflation, stemming from the pound’s slump, has eaten into household incomes.