We will be publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom (and the European Union) over the next few days in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit.
The European Union (EU28 or EU) accounted for around one sixth of world trade in goods in 2016, with a 16.3% share of exports and a 15.0% share of imports. Turning to services the EU28’s contribution to world trade (mainly due to the United Kingdom which is leaving the European Union) was even greater, totalling 24.7% of exports and 21.1% of imports.
Seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 0.3% in the Eurozone and by 0.4% in the European Union (EU28) during the second quarter (Q2) of 2018, compared with the previous quarter, according to a preliminary flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The first estimate for the European Union exports of goods in May 2018 was €160.9 billion, down by 2.7% compared with May 2017 (€165.4 bn). Imports from the rest of the world stood at €160.7 bn, down by 1.4% compared with May 2017 (€163.0 bn). As a result, the European Union recorded a €0.2 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in May 2018, compared with a surplus of €2.3 bn in May 2017. Intra-European Union trade rose to €294.7 bn in May 2018, +1.6% compared with May 2017.
In January to May 2018, the European Union exports of goods rose to €786.6 bn (an increase of 1.5% compared with January-May 2017), while imports rose to €795.7 bn (an increase of 1.6% compared with January-May 2017). As a result, the European Union recorded a deficit of €9.1 bn, compared with a deficit of €8.1 bn in January-May 2017. Intra-European Union trade rose to €1457.3 bn in January-May 2018, +4.6% compared with January-May 2017.
The European Central Bank (ECB) announced on Wednesday that it will halve its bond buys to 15 billion Euros (from the current 30 billion Euros) a month from October then shut the programme at the end of the year.
ECB’s balance sheet has increased by 2 trillion Euros since 2015 when it announced its bond buying programme. 2-year yields for most of the Eurozone countries are currently negative and 10-year yields in most cases are lower than that of the United States. The European Central Bank (ECB) is by far the biggest holder of European bonds and the biggest (almost 90%) buyer of the weaker Eurozone (Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece) countries debt since 2015. The ECB balance sheet is now over 4.5 trillion Euros, some 45% of Eurozone GDP.
The Euro Area unemployment rate was 8.5% in April 2018, down from 8.6% in March 2018 and from 9.2% in April 2017. This is the lowest since December 2008 but still more than double of the US unemployment rate of 3.9% reported in April (the US unemployment rate further fell to 3.8% in May). The EU28 unemployment rate was 7.1% in April 2018, stable compared with March 2018 and down from 7.8% in April 2017. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since September 2008.