HC Deb 12 November 1931 vol 259 c259

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he can give information, for the first nine months of 1931, of the excess of imports and Government payments made overseas above exports and Government receipts from abroad, together with the estimated shipping income, income from overseas investments, commissions, and other services; and what is the estimated adverse trade balance to 30th September, 1931?


The excess of imports into the United Kingdom of merchandise during the nine months ended 30th September, 1931, over exports of merchandise therefrom, taken at the values declared to the Customs authorities, amounted to £281 million, and during that period there was an excess of exports over imports of bullion and specie amounting to £20 million. The balance of these items was thus an import excess of £261 million. I am not in a position to furnish the details of the invisible exports some of which represent payments accruing at particular periods of the year, so that estimates for periods less than a year could not well possess a sufficient degree of reliability.


Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the last part of the question? What is the adverse trade balance?


For the reasons that I have given as to the difficulty of arriving at the figures of the invisible exports, it is not possible at this moment to say what the adverse trade balance will be.


Do not the figures that the right hon. Gentleman has given to the House indicate that immediate steps must be taken to redress the balance of trade?