Overall exports of art and antiques in 2016 were down 13.6% to £4.95bn, while imports declined by 37% to £2.23bn. The figures are based on the value of goods moved rather than actual sales, but tend to mirror the key market trends.
The United States remained the UK’s biggest partner but the figures showed significant market shrinkage with the UK’s fine art exports to the US down by 20% to £1.85bn, while imports fell 40% to £552.3m. Exports of antiques to the US dropped by 24% to £431.1m, and imports declined by over 30% to £224.5m.
The figures were compiled using raw data from HMRC by Ivan Macquisten, who noted that the drop-off occurred both before and after the Brexit referendum in June. “We will have to wait to see how the next two years pan out to understand if our changing relationship with the European Union will alter the UK’s global market status,” he said.