Turmoil in the eurozone continues to drag down the UK's exporters, raising the probability that the economy contracted again in the final quarter of 2012.
Official statistics today showed that export volumes to the European Union, which accounts for half of Britain's trade, fell by 3.7 per cent in the three months to November from a year earlier.
Peter Dixon of Commerzbank said: "I suspect that what they confirm is that trade will act as a drag in Q4."
There was a slightly brighter note on UK exports to the rest of the world, where volumes were up 6.8 per cent between September and November.
Imports from the EU rose 1.8 per cent, while imports from the rest of the world fell by 1.7 per cent, which helped to narrow the UK's overall trade deficit (including goods and services) in November to £3.5bn, from £3.7bn in October.