Exports and imports fell in May, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics, suggesting that the full effect of the rising pound had not started to show.
Exports, excluding oil and erratic items, fell 3% from April, with imports down 6.5%. The latest estimate of underlying trends suggests export and import volumes are still rising.
Figures from Pace Consultants, quoted in Chevron’s latest review of global trends in oil, show that the link between oil consumption and economic growth is not as straightforward as is commonly supposed.
In the mature economies of Europe and the US, demand for oil is rising more slowly than gross domestic product as the service sector, less energy intensive than manufacturing, is growing faster than the economy as a whole.
The success of Britain’s defence sector is illustrated by figures from the Ministry of Defence in response to a parliamentary question. The UK share of the world export market has risen from 11% to 25% since 1988.
Another reply shows the science budget, which covers the research councils and higher education funding councils running at 3% below its 1995-96 peak of £1,368m at current prices.