UK trade and investment in 2018: behind the numbers

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More businesses than ever are seeking expansion opportunities overseas, International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said today (Monday 31st December) as he celebrated a successful year for trade and investment.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, said:

2018 has been a year to celebrate our successes in trade – with record highs in investment and exports. In a year where we launched our Export Strategy, our GDP continues to grow at a quicker rate than the Eurozone, and employment is at a rate we haven’t seen for more than 40 years.

With exports reaching £626bn we look forward to 2019. Overseas trade will continue to play a crucial part in economic growth and my international economic department will do all it can to support UK businesses to expand their operations overseas.

Key headline figures from UK trade and investment in 2018:

  • £626bn – The demand for UK goods and services overseas continued to grow, as exports in the year to October 2018 rose to £626bn.
  • Trade beyond the EU – There has also been a clear shift in who we trade with, as whilst ten years ago more than half of our exports went to the EU, 54.2% now go to non-EU countries.
  • 0.6% – GDP growth in the third quarter this year was significantly greater than the Eurozone (0.6% from 0.2%) And the economy is now 17.8% bigger since 2010.
  • £114bn – The US remained the UKs top single export destination, with exports increasing to £114bn in the year to 2018 Q3.
  • £59bn – Goods exports from the Northern Powerhouse increased by 2.1% in the year to 2018 Q3.
  • £56bn – Goods exports from the Midlands Engine increased by 6.1% in the year to 2018 Q3.
  • 110,000 – The number of VAT-registered businesses exporting goods in the UK increased by 1.5% to 110,000 in 2018 Q3 compared to the same quarter in the previous year.
  • 10.4% – Over the past year some of the world’s fastest growing economies have shown a growing interest in British produce, as exports to ASEAN increased by 10.4% in the year to end 2018 Q2.
  • £5bn – Foreign investors are feeling more confident than ever placing their money in UK companies. The UKs vibrant tech sector has received over £5bn in venture capitalist funding between June 2016 and June 2018, more than France, Germany and Sweden combined.
  • 75,698 – 2017/2018 saw 75,968 new jobs created as a result of Foreign Direct Investment, as the UK remained the top destination for FDI in Europe.

Notes to editors

  • In August, the Department for International Trade launched its ambitious new Export Strategy, seeking to move exports as a percentage of GDP from 30% to 35%.
  • The strategy set out a range of support which will help businesses make the most of significant export opportunities around the world.
  • Fastest growing export destinations only include markets with export values equal to or greater than £1bn.

Published 31 December 2018

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