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Exports to countries outside the European Union, which account for 98% of global exports, rose 4.5% to £4.37bn, while respective imports fell by 4.2% to £2.71bn.

The US reinforced its status as the UK's most important source and destination for goods in the market. While exports of pictures to the US increased 16.4%, imports dropped by almost a quarter. The trade gap between the US and UK on pictures has almost trebled in a single year from just under £250m to £736m.

As our exclusive trade tables show, exports of antiques to Russia collapsed to £16.3m - just 15% of what they were in 2013 - at the same time as imports to the UK from Russia almost trebled from just £5.5m to £15.7m.

As we always caution, the HMRC figures reflect the value of goods moved across UK borders, not actual sales, although history shows that there is a close correlation between the two and the import/export figures are useful for indicating trends.

What is clear is that these latest figures show a significant shift in influence away from London towards New York as a trading centre for fine art.

Indeed, UK picture exports were the only section of the market that grew.

Hong Kong Shipments

The huge rise in shipments of pictures both ways between London and Hong Kong (UK exports up 109.1%, imports up 235.3%) may well reflect the growing importance of the former British colony as both an international market for fine art sales and its entrepot status.

The balance of trade with Switzerland remains fairly level, except for UK exports of antiques, which fell by two thirds to £34.5m - no clear reason for this is apparent, although it may be linked to the country's entrepot status.

China, listed separately from Hong Kong as a trading partner, makes its mark in the picture table, with £23.3m of UK exports and £37.2m of UK imports. In 2013 it did not feature at all among the UK's top ten trading partners in this sector. It also rises to fourth place in value for UK antiques exports at £19.3m.

Combined import and export values between the UK and EU fell 30% year on year. Although these figures are considerably lower than those for cross-border activity with the rest of the globe, again it can be an indication of a general fall-off in activity.

ATG have been constructing these import/export tables for the past 15 years from raw data published by HMRC.