Materials and commodities
- Balance of trade | The UK’s (already stretched) target to halve the building materials balance of trade deficit is considered out of reach. After eight years, the deficit has more than doubled from £6bn to £13.2bn in 2021.
- Construction machinery | The UK remained a net exporter of construction machinery in Q1 2022, but the balance of trade reduced substantially as imports increased 54% but exports fell 9%.
- Shipping | Experts expect port and landside congestion and high shipping rates to last into 2023 and that rising shipping costs, longer transit times, and greater uncertainty will become the new normal.
- Oil refining capacity | Around a third of China’s fuel-processing capacity is currently idle due to strict export limits to support clean air policies and less crude input from Russia. Although China does not generally export much refined oil it can act as a swing producer when there is a global shortage.