UK-based companies exported £25.78bn-worth of goods in July, with only £11.24bn heading to the Eurozone. That ratio to euro area countries, 43.6 per cent of total British exports, was the lowest in around 25 years, the think tank Open Europe noted.
The full trade data, released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), also showed that exports of goods beyond the wider European Union area exceeded exports to EU states.
British goods sold into EU countries rose by £0.9bn in July to a total value of £12.5bn, yet exports to the rest of the world shot up by £1.3bn, to reach a total of £13.2bn.
Over half (51.4 per cent) of goods were therefore sent beyond the borders of the EU.
“Tellingly, non-EU exports have now been greater than exports to the EU for three consecutive months,” commented Colin Edwards from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
“Taking the three months to July together, the UK exported around 3.9 per cent, or £1.4bn more to non-EU nations,” he added.
Overall, the UK’s trade deficit for goods and services combined shrank in July to £1.5bn, down from £4.3bn in June, the ONS said.
The deficit of £7.1bn for the trade of physical goods was partly offset by an estimated surplus of £5.6bn for services.
The data may benefit the UK’s third quarter GDP figures, providing some relief for chancellor George Osborne.
Yet many analysts are unconvinced that July’s figures signal the start of an exports boom. “With global growth set to remain subdued, a further marked pick up in demand for UK exports looks increasingly unlikely,” said Emily Nicol at Daiwa Capital Markets.