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UK £6 Billion Worse Off After Multi Billion Pound Gold “Accounting Error”

 -- Published: Thursday, 8 December 2016 | Print  | Disqus 

Oops! Experts’ £6 Bln blunder sends UK trade deficit soaring

UK failed to measure huge imports of gold coins and bars after Brexit vote

By Philip Aldrick
Economics Editor
The Times, London

Britain’s trade deficit with the rest of the world is £6 billion larger than previously thought — and at a record high — because the nation’s bean counters made a mistake in their sums.


The problem was found in the collection of “non-monetary gold” data, which measures the amount of gold traded privately rather than used in jewellery

The Office for National Statistics yesterday admitted to a big “processing error” that meant it had miscalculated the value of everything that the country exports and imports for almost two years. For the three months to September, the correction catapulted the trade deficit from £11 billion to £17 billion, the worst since records began in 1955.

The error comes at a particularly sensitive time for the ONS and the trade series in particular, which is being watched closely for signs of an export revival after the fall in sterling since Brexit.

The Bank of England and the Office for Budget Responsibility expect an improvement in the UK’s trade to cushion the economic blow of voting to leave the European Union. However, the ONS’s mistake appears to have masked a catastrophic collapse since June.

The problem was found in the collection of “non-monetary gold” data, which measures the amount of gold traded privately rather than used in jewellery. For every other quarter from the start of 2015, the corrected numbers improve the trade picture, suggesting that UK investors have been net sellers of gold. Since Brexit, the data shows that they have become large importers of the dollar-denominated asset in an apparent flight to safety …

Click here to read The Times UK article (subscription required for full article)

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Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

08 Dec: USD 1,174.75, GBP 925.47 & EUR 1,088.64 per ounce
07 Dec: USD 1,171.25, GBP 929.62 & EUR 1,092.19 per ounce
06 Dec: USD 1,171.15, GBP 918.18 & EUR 1,086.94 per ounce
05 Dec: USD 1,164.90, GBP 915.84 & EUR 1,095.36 per ounce
02 Dec: USD 1,171.65, GBP 929.00 & EUR 1,100.88 per ounce
01 Dec: USD 1,168.75, GBP 930.09 & EUR 1,099.68 per ounce
30 Nov: USD 1,187.40, GBP 952.06 & EUR 1,115.44 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

08 Dec: USD 17.13, GBP 13.50 & EUR 15.88 per ounce
07 Dec: USD 16.77, GBP 13.32 & EUR 15.64 per ounce
06 Dec: USD 16.79, GBP 13.17 & EUR 15.63 per ounce
05 Dec: USD 16.62, GBP 13.05 & EUR 15.54 per ounce
02 Dec: USD 16.35, GBP 12.95 & EUR 15.36 per ounce
01 Dec: USD 16.30, GBP 12.91 & EUR 15.35 per ounce
30 Nov: USD 16.67, GBP 13.39 & EUR 15.66 per ounce


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