Skip to content
Subscriber Only

A Tale of Two Surpluses: U.K. Puzzles Over Trade Data With U.S.

Statisticians are struggling to reconcile differing trade figures either side of the Atlantic
Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, left, shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. 
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Making different countries’ trade statistics add up is a tricky business.

The U.K.’s Office for National Statistics is currently working to explain a 33 billion-pound ($46 billion) discrepancy between British and American figures on trade in services, the sector that makes up the biggest part of both economies. So far, the ONS can account for just 4 billion pounds of the difference, it said in a blog post Monday.