Equant Analytics

March Trade Outlook

Equant Analytics
March 2017

The stage looks set for the UK to trigger Article 50 as planned by the end of March 2017. This will start the process of negotiating the UK’s way out of the European Union, a process which will be at best difficult. As no-one at this stage knows precisely what the trade arrangements will be after Brexit, and as these arrangements won’t come into place for at least eighteen months, it is a good idea to take a snapshot of where we are now in trade terms,  and, indeed, to look at what the future looks like if nothing changes. At the very least, this provides a reference point for that point in the future when we are, well, where we will be.

Projected annualized average growth of UK trade with global regions, 2016-2020
Equant Analytics 2017

NOTE: The projected growth between 2016 and 2020 is based on a momentum forecast only. The momentum forecast is taken from all available data for the UK between 1996 and 2016 (inclusive) to capture cyclical changes in trade and from the last ten years and the last three years to create the forward momentum. The projections are based entirely on the data series and not on assumptions about policy changes or their impact.

At first glance the chart shows that although UK exports to the EU 27 and the EU currency area are projected to fall, export growth to the Asia Pacific region (APTA) may be as high as 7.4% annually to 2020. This is a pattern that has been gaining some momentum for the past few years, particularly since the investment of BMW in the UK, which has boosted car exports to China for example. Export trade to the Middle East and North Africa is also projected to grow and much of this is in aerospace and engineering-related supply chains. Trade with North America seems set on a downward path – clearly Theresa May’s recent visit to the US has yet to show through in the projections!

Dealing with the most challenging data issues

Countries tend to under-report

Our Solution: Data is mirrored using OECD techniques to ensure it is complete.

Currency fluctuations

Our Solution: Nominal values reported in USD using IMF/WTO average FX rates.

Confidential data can be suppressed

Our Solution: As our data is updated monthly, reporting inconsistencies are identified quickly.

Inclusion of services

Our Solution: Service data averages from OECD, Eurostat and UN sources are mirrored and refined to form a more accurate picture.

SITC versus HS codes

Our Solution: We collect and report Data in both SITC and HS codes.

Country exports do not equal imports

Our Solution: Data is calibrated so that exports equal imports for all flows (i.e. UK exports to US = US imports from UK).