Shipping
Exports of paintings and sculptures were the largest contributor for non-EU machinery and transport equipment exports from the UK, up by 45.6%. Image: Cadogan Tate.

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According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the total UK trade (goods and services) deficit narrowed by £2.1bn to £6.2bn in the three months to November 2017.

The ONS said the exports of paintings and sculptures were the largest contributor for non-EU machinery and transport equipment exports, up by 45.6%, or £500m.

The period in question covers art fairs such as Frieze and the autumn season of auctions.

The export figures include sales as well as works of art travelling overseas for loans and exhibitions. However the calculations are adjusted to exclude those where the export has not led to a sale of the art work.

An ONS spokesperson confirmed to ATG: “These adjustments reflect the exclusion of certain transactions which are reported by HMRC but where there is no change of ownership.”