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UK Foreign Trade of Services – Data Additions Highlight

By Alfred Sadek

The service sector is a crucial component in the UK economy and will continue to be an important topic in the post-Brexit discussion. Among recent additions to the Macrobond database was a massive dataset from the ONS which covers UK foreign trade in the service sector. It includes quarterly exports and imports of services broken down by country and region, as well as type of service.

In the chart below, I compare the UK’s trade of services with the EU to its trade with the US and Puerto Rico. Using Macrobond’s built in analytics, I’ve aggregated the values on an annual basis so that Q4 is the sum of all quarters.

Taking a closer look at the latest release (that’s Q1 2020) with a focus on European countries, we can see that Germany was the UK’s biggest trading partner in terms of service exports, while France was the biggest in terms of service imports. More services were imported from Spain that exported to Spain during this period, something that stands out from most of the other trading partners to the UK.

In the bar chart below, showing exports broken down by service type, we can see the totals and % of GDP for 2018, 2019 and Q1 2020. Other Business Services, which includes R&D, professional and management consulting, as well as technical and trade related services, is at the top of the export component list, followed by financials and transportation services.

The chart below from our Chart library shows credit ratios by sectors. It is especially corporate debt and household debt that has increased significantly over the last decade, both in advanced economies and Emerging Markets.

While government debt has been rather stable, there is a lot of heterogeneity. Countries like Germany and Sweden have reduced their debt level despite record low interest rates. A rather folly decision as it comes at the expense of public investment. Japan, on the other hand, has run up debt levels that now exceed 220% of GDP (about half of it is owned by the Bank of Japan).

In terms of credit to GDP ratios, there are also stark differences between advanced economies. While countries like Italy or Germany have a credit to GDP ratio that barely exceeds 100%, some Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon economies reach 200% or more.

We continuously expand the Macrobond database. Below, you can view the full list of series that we’ve added to the Macrobond database in the past two weeks.

Data Additions by Country / Region

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