The trade deficit shot up in September, according to the Office for National Statistics, dealing a blow to the Government's hopes of presiding over an export-driven recovery.
The UK's deficit in goods and services in September was £3.9bn, up from £2.7bn in August. The volume of goods exports fell by 1.6 per cent and the volume of imports rose by 1.6 per cent. The deficit on the trade in goods reached £9.8bn, the highest figure on record. The UK's long-standing surplus on trade in services remained at £5.9bn. Exports to major EU trading partners fell in value by £600m in the month, while imports from the Continent rose by £1.6bn. Analysts interpreted the figures as a sign of economic distress.