September’s trade figures for textile and apparel products from the UKTI confirmed the wider economic picture of a widening trade gap although monthly apparel exports hit record levels.
The annual trade gap stood at £14.9bn for the month, slightly down on August’s peak and a long way off December 2013’s figure of £13.9bn as amongst the many factors the strong pound and continued growth (albeit gradual) in the UK economy makes imports more attractive.
Annual export levels although slightly lower than in August, remain high and the on-going upward trajectory.
Figure 1: Annual exports, imports and trade gap in textiles and apparelSource: UKTI. Textiles based on SITC 65 and Apparel SITC 84
The monthly export figures demonstrate how this persistent gap is led by import increases. Apparel exports for September 2015 stood at £528 milion, up over £30 million. Textiles also saw an upturn of almost £37 million to stand at over £229 million for the month of September. This in itself shows an optimism for fashion and textiles goods in export markets going forward.
Figure 2: Monthly apparel and textiles exports
Source: UKTI. Textiles based on SITC 65 and Apparel SITC 84