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The rise from £37.6m in 2004 to £110.3m is the most dramatic change in a year that has also seen overall art and antiques exports to countries outside the European Union grow by a quarter at £2749.2m and imports by nearly 15 per cent at £1681.2m.

This is the first year that the figures reflect the expansion of the European Union from 15 to 25 countries, although those nations now removed from the reckoning here are not major trading partners in art and antiques, and so little adjustment is required when assessing the figures.

As always, the figures shown in the table below reflect the value of items moved rather than traded – for example dealer stock being moved between fairs in different countries, but not necessarily sold – but it is likely that there is a strong correlation between the figures and actual trade.

With this in mind, it is notable that antiques, as a whole, are on the move out of the UK, with overall exports up just over 20 per cent at £768.2m and imports down by just over 10 per cent at £306.2m.

There is more balance to the movement of fine art, with exports up 27.4 per cent to £1981m and imports also up, by 21.9 per cent to £1375m.

There is a steady growth in both imports and exports of pictures with the UK’s largest trading partner, the United States, with the former up 4.6 per cent at £738.1m and the latter up seven per cent at £1,159.5m.

A slight decline in antiques exports to the US sees the figure fall by 4.7 per cent to £429.8m, but this still accounts for 56 per cent of all antiques exported from the UK. Imports to the US have fallen by a greater margin, totalling £229.4m, a drop of 13.9 per cent, but this still represents three quarters of all antiques imported to the UK.

Far more dramatic are the swings in totals for Switzerland, the UK’s second largest trading partner in art and antiques. The export of antiques there has nearly doubled at £117.4m, and the import of pictures is up by more than a third at £337.4m.

By Ivan Macquisten


UK art and antiques exports and Imports to and from Non-EU countries

Figures in brackets show the percentage relationship with the previous year

EXPORTS 2005

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old)...............£768.2m (+20.9%)
FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age)......£1981m (+27.4%)
TOTAL EXPORTS..................................................£2749.2m (+25.5%)


UK EXPORTS OF ANTIQUES TO:
USA.................................£429.8m (-4.7%)
Switzerland...................£117.4m (+94.3%)
Hong Kong.................£110.3m (+193.3%)
Qatar..................................£33.8m (-2.9%)
Japan...............................£20.1m (+46.7%)
Australia...........................£11.5m (+2.7%)
Russia.................................£6.6m (+267%)
Saudi Arabia............................£5.8m (n/a)
Canada..............................£5.1m (+82.1%)
China.........................................£4.3m (n/a)

UK EXPORTS OF PICTURES* TO:
USA.............................£1,159.5m (+7.0%)
Switzerland...................£416.8m (+11.6%)
Australia..........................£17.0m (-33.3%)
Hong Kong.....................£16.7m (+21.9%)
Russia..............................£14.2m (-39.8%)
Japan................................£11.1m (-63.2%)
Singapore................................£10.5m (n/a)
Saudi Arabia............................£9.8m (n/a)
Canada...............................£8.7m (-66.4%)
South Korea......................£5.3m (-19.5%)


IMPORTS 2005

ANTIQUES (objects over 100 years old)...............£306.2m (-10.6%)
FINE ART (pictures, prints, sculpture, any age)......£1375m (+21.9%)
TOTAL IMPORTS...................................................£1681.2m (+14.3%)

UK IMPORTS OF ANTIQUES FROM:
USA...............................£229.4m (-13.9%)
Switzerland.....................£34.2m (+10.3%)
Hong Kong........................£20.1m (-6.1%)
Japan...................................£7.7m (+8.4%)
Australia...........................£4.9m (+88.5%)
Dubai................................£1.9m (+90.0%)
Kenya........................................£1.9m (n/a)
Canada..............................£1.1m (+37.5%)
China............................................£0.9m (–)
Israel.........................................£0.5m (n/a)

UK IMPORTS OF PICTURES* FROM:
USA................................£738.1m (+4.6%)
Switzerland...................£337.4m (+37.5%)
Canada..........................£34.5m (+494.8%)
Australia..........................£10.5m (-47.8%)
Singapore..................................£5.4m (n/a)
Turkey.......................................£4.9m (n/a)
Israel...................................£4.2m (-32.3%)
Hong Kong...............................£4.1m (n/a)
Taiwan.......................................£3.2m (n/a)
Argentina..................................£3.0m (n/a)

* EU countries for the purpose of these figures include all 25 countries post expansion. The 2004 figures included only the 15 pre-expansion EU countries.

These figures are based on UK overseas trade statistics. Analysis and comparisons by Antiques Trade Gazette © 2006