17/04/2003

Regional imports suffer £1bn slump

Government figures released today have revealed that the value of regional imports has slumped by around £1 billion over the past quarter.

According the Customs and Excise report, estimates for the fourth quarter 2002 saw regional imports dip £1 billion, or 2%, on the third quarter's figures to £51.4 billion. However, the department says that the decrease is less dramatic when compared to the fourth quarter for 2001, indicating that imports are down by £690 million over the year.

Comparing the figures with the same quarter for 2001 shows an increase of £250 million in imports from EU countries and a decrease of £940 million in imports from non-EU countries. The impact of these changes was spread fairly evenly across the regions, although the East Midlands and London regions saw significant increases (12% and 6% respectively) in total imports from EU and non-EU countries.

Imports to Northern Ireland and the North East regions saw the most significant falls, by 14% and 9% respectively, when compared with the same quarter for 2001.

Total regional exports were down fractionally by £44 million on the results for third quarter 2002, and down a more significant £1.8 billion on the results for fourth quarter 2001, comprising £1 billion fall in exports to non-EU countries and £800m fall in exports to EU countries. London region saw the most significant rise in exports to EU countries, up £400 million on fourth quarter 2001 figures.

Estimates for the first quarter 2003 will be published on 17 July 2003.

(GMcG)

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