UK trade deficit falls

'Surprisingly upbeat' figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveal Britain's trade gap for goods has fallen from record highs.

According to the organisation, the deficit for trade in goods for December last year stood at £7.4 billion, compared with the £8.1 billion recorded in November.

The ONS reveals that this is mainly due to falling imports, which were 2.5 per cent lower in December than November, while exports rose by 0.5 per cent.

In addition, the surplus on trade in services amounted to £3.8 billion, down from £4.1 billion, giving a total UK deficit of £3.6 billion in December – improving on the £4 billion for the previous month.

Commenting on the findings, Vicky Redwood, consumer and debt specialist at Capital Economics, says: ‘The latest UK data give a surprisingly upbeat picture of the economy around the turn of the year.’

David Page, analyst at Investec, describes the findings as ‘encouraging’ and claims the UK could experience a ‘significant stimulus’ if global activity begins to pick up.

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