Overseas Trade and the Balance of Payments

Overseas Trade and the Balance of Payments

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Overseas Trade and the Balance of Payments – Overview

This section covers data on the UK’s overseas trade and the overall balance of payments.  Exports of wool are available as far back as the C13th with other data on imports and exports available from the Port Books until official customs data begin in 1696. The customs data are based on official values that were changed relatively infrequently (if at all) during the C18th and are thought better reflections of trade volumes rather than values.   Official data on the value of exports and imports begin in 1854 though these have been taken back to the late C18th through the work of scholars such as Albert Imlah, Ralph Davis and Javier Cuenca-Esteban.  The Bank’s Millennium of Data spreadsheet summarises much of the historical and official data available.  This is backed up by digitised historical publications such as Elizabeth Schumpeter’s English Overseas Trade Statistics, the Trade and Navigation Accounts and the Annual Pink Book.

Long historical time series of trade data

The overseas trade section of Millennium of Macroeconomic Data v3.1 (xls), has a considerable amount of aggregate and disaggregated trade data derived from the work of numerous scholars which stretch back to the C13th. Some of the key summary data are available to visualise on FRED.

Other useful compendia of trade statistics for the C19th and interwar periods can be found below:

Historical official balance of payments data - the pre-BPM5 UK balance of payments 1948-1997

Historical official data on the balance of payments has been reconstructed on behalf of the ONS by Anne Harrison, editor of the 2008 System of National Accounts, the international standard on which the ESA is based. This dataset covers the balance of payments as they were presented annually in the Pink Books and quarterly in Economic Trends and, from 1992, in United Kingdom Economic Accounts (UKEA) in the period prior to 1998. The data throughout are consistent with the last quarterly data based on the classifications and definitions in Pink Book 1997 and represent the official balance of payments as they were known and understood at that time. The international guidelines on the compilation of national accounts were revised in 1993 and were implemented from 1998 onwards when the ONS changed their methodologies to adopt more rigorously the conventions of IMFs Balance of Payments manual (BPM). The data first produced under the new post-1998 systems covered a period from 1987 to 1997 and although the initial intention was to back-fill the historical data prior to 1986, resources did not permit doing this for more than a handful of series. This exercise, therefore, is a step towards completing that objective by initially reconstructing the data as they existed prior to 1998 so that a comprehensive linking process can be attempted. As far as possible, the time series start at 1948 annually. The range of quarterly series for the balance of payments is not as extensive and typically starts later. A sibling dataset covers the national accounts data that appeared in the Blue Book at the same point in time and is available in the National Accounts section.

World Trade data

World trade data for 1800-1938 has recently been compiled by Giovanni Federico and Antonio Tena-Junguito and is available at Historical world trade data compiled by the United Nations for 1900-1965 can be found here The data tables can be easily copied and pasted into a spreadsheet from the pdf. Both datasets can be combined with modern data on world trade from the IMF and WTO.

UK overseas investment

The Bank of England published estimates of the UK's overseas investments for the period 1938-1963 before these were superseded by the more comprehensive estimates of overseas assets and liabilities produced in the CSO's Pink Book from 1964 onwards. The Pink Books are available in the Articles and Periodicals sections below.
The following titles are available to select in the dropdown menus of this section.

  • Annual Statement of Trade in the United Kingdom Vol.1 (selected years)
  • Monthly Review of External Trade Statisitcs (MRETS) 2001-2011
  • Report on Overseas Trade from 1948-1971
  • Trade and Navigation Accounts (coming soon)
  • UK Balance of Payments (Pink Book) from 1946
  • UK Quarterly Economic Accounts from 1992
  • UK Trade in Goods and Services (coming soon)
Note many of the publications in the Headline Macro Data section also contain substantial amounts of UK trade data going back to the C19th. An Excel file for Pink Book 1997 based on the historical reconstruction of official data by Anne Harrison discussed in the Datasets section is also available in the dropdown list alongside the pdf file for that year.

Please select a publication title and year from the boxes below to narrow down the list. Alternatively type in a general search term. The available excel and pdf files are shown in the table. If the publication you are looking for is not in this section please see the complete list of downloadable publications

Select Publication or Input Search Term

Article Name Excel File PDF File
Annual Statement of Trade of the United Kingdom 1865 No Excel File
Annual Statement of Trade of the United Kingdom 1871 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1872-1876 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1882-1886 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1886-1890 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1903-1907 - Volume I No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1920-1924 - Volume I No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1924-1928 - Volume I No Excel File
Annual Statement of Trade of the United Kingdom 1932 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1928-1932 - Volume I No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1942-1946 - Volume I No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade April-Dec 1948 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Nov 1949 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Feb-Dec 1950 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1951 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1952 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1953 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1954 No Excel File
Annual Statement Of The Trade Of The United Kingdom For The Year 1954 - Volume 1 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1951-1954 - Volume I No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1955 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1956 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1946-1957 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1957 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1955-1958 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1958 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1955-1958 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1956-1959 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1959 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1957-1960 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1960 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1958-1961 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1961 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1962 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1959-1962 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1959-1962 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1963 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1963 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1963 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1964 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1964 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1964 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1965 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1965 No Excel File
Annual Statement Of The Trade Of The United Kingdom For The Year 1965 - Volume 1 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1965 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1966 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1966 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1966 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1967 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1967 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1967 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1968 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report on Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1968 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1968 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1969 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Dec 1969 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1970 No Excel File
Board of Trade - Report On Overseas Trade Jan-Feb 1970-1971 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1970 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1971 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1971 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1972 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1972 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1963-1973 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1973 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1973 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1964-1974 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1974 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1965-1975 No Excel File
Annual Statement of the Trade of the United Kingdom 1975 - Volume I No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1966-1976 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1967-1977 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1979 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1980 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1981 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1982 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1983 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1984 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1985 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1986 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1987 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1988 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1989 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1990 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1991 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1992 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 1, Q4 1992 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1993 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 2, Q1 1993 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 3, Q2 1993 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 4, Q3 1993 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 5, Q4 1993 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1994 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 6, Q1 1994 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 7, Q2 1994 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 8, Q3 1994 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 9, Q4 1994 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1995 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 10, Q1 1995 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 11, Q2 1995 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 12, Q3 1995 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 13, Q4 1995 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1996 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 14, Q1 1996 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 15, Q2 1996 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 16, Q3 1996 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 17, Q4 1996 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1997
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 18, Q1 1997 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 19, Q2 1997 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 20, Q3 1997 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 21, Q4 1997 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1998 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 22, Q1 1998
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 23, Q2 1998 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 24, Q3 1998 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 25, Q4 1998 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 1999 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 26, Q1 1999 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 27, Q2 1999 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 28, Q3 1999 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 29, Q4 1999 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2000 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 30, Q1 2000 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 31, Q2 2000 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 32, Q3 2000 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 33, Q4 2000 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2001 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 34, Q1 2001 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2001 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 35, Q2 2001 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2001 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2001 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2001 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 36, Q3 2001 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2001 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 37, Q4 2001 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2002 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 38, Q1 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2002 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 39, Q2 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2002 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 40, Q3 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2002 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 41, Q4 2002 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2002 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2003 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 42, Q1 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2003 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 43, Q2 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2003 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 44, Q3 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2003 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 45, Q4 2003 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2003 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2004 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 46, Q1 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2004 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 47, Q2 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2004 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 48, Q3 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2004 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 49, Q4 2004 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2004 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2005 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 50, Q1 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2005 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 51, Q2 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2005 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 52, Q3 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2005 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 53, Q4 2005 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2005 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2006 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 54, Q1 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2006 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 55, Q2 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2006 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 56, Q3 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics October 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2006 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 57, Q4 2006 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2006 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2007 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 58, Q1 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2007 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 59, Q2 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2007 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 60, Q3 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2007 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 61, Q4 2007 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2007 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2008 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 62, Q1 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2008 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 63, Q2 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2008 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 64, Q3 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2008 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 65, Q4 2008 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2008 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2009 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 66, Q1 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2009 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 67, Q2 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2009 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 68, Q3 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2009 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 69, Q4 2009 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2009 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2010 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 70, Q1 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2010 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 71, Q2 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics July 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics August 2010 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 72, Q3 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics September 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics October 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics November 2010 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 73, Q4 2010 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics December 2010 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2011 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics January 2011 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics February 2011 No Excel File
United Kingdom Economic Accounts, No. 74, Q1 2011 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics March 2011 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics April 2011 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics May 2011 No Excel File
Monthly Review of External Trade Statistics June 2011 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments 2012 No Excel File
United Kingdom Balance of Payments - The Pink Book 2014 No Excel File