FINANCIAL services and insurance firm exports jumped £3.2billion in 2017 – providing ammunition for Square Mile lobbyists as they demand a favourable deal for the City during Brexit negotiations.
Data in the annual Office for National Statistics Pink Book – which reported record high figures of £78bn for last year – was pounced upon by City policy chairman Catherine McGuinness as Britain’s divorce from the EU continues to hit stumbling blocks.
The UK’s trade balance for the sector also increased from £58.2bn to £60.9bn in 2017. The surplus – the largest of any UK services sector by some margin – plays an important role in helping to balance the UK’s trade in goods deficit, currently in excess of £137bn.
And there was more positive reading for pro-Europe campaigners as the sector’s trade with the EU rose from £28.8bn to £32.8bn, with the share of financial services and insurance exports going to the market also climbing from 39% to 42%.
“The success of UK financial services and insurance firms in exporting across the globe plays a vital role in balancing our trade deficit,” said Ms McGuinness.
“It also helps to support jobs around the country, as well as providing the finance and services needed by our international partners.”
“An increasing proportion of these exports are going to the European Union, which only underscores the urgent need to secure a positive services trade deal in the Brexit negotiations.
“A poor deal on services with Europe will mean that the sector is less able to create jobs, generate tax, and support growth across the wider economy.”
Beyond the EU, trade with key markets, including the US (up from £15.4bn in 2016 to £16.3bn in 2017), Japan (£3.9bn to £4bn) and Switzerland (£2bn to £2.3bn), all increased.
Trade with China also increased from a low base of £280m to £340m. Despite strong performance in these markets, overall trade with non-EU countries actually fell from £46bn to £45.1bn.
Photo by Daniel Chapman (Creative Commons).