Falling non-EU exports widen trade gap
David Cameron's hopes of promoting an export-led recovery were left deflated yesterday by official figures showing that the UK's trade deficit increased by more than expected in February.
The deficit in the trade of goods came in at £8.7bn over the month, up from £7.9bn in January, according to the Office for National Statistics. The deficit was well above the £7.7bn that economists had pencilled in. The overall deficit, which includes trade in services, rose to £3.5bn. January's overall deficit figure was also revised up by the ONS to £2.5bn from the previous £1.8bn.
The rising goods trade deficit was largely a result of a fall in exports to countries outside the EU – an area that ministers have earmarked for strong growth in the coming years. The month's fall was driven by slower car sales to non-EU nations, including China, Russia and the US.
The Prime Minister is heading a trade mission to Asia this week, in which he hopes to promote British business in the fast-growing region. Mr Cameron will travel to Burma tomorrow, where he will call for sanctions on the pariah state to be lifted as a reward for the regime's recent tentative political reforms.
Despite the recession in the eurozone, exports to EU countries rose over the month, by £300m, to hit £13.1bn. Imports from the region fell by £200m. Yet some analysts doubted that this would last. Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics said: "With sentiment towards the eurozone fading again, we think that export growth to Europe is likely to weaken soon too."
In his March Budget speech the Chancellor, George Osborne, said the UK's falling share of world exports was "the road to Britain's economic irrelevance".
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Acclaim for retired Australian defence chief Angus Houston who is leading the search for the airliner
South Korea ferry: Four dead and almost 300 missing as mass rescue gets underway
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of the spectacular 'blood moon'
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
- 1 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 2 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 3 Man on a leash in Farringdon, London: Mystery of 'walkies' solved
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower
iJobs Money & Business
£40000 - £50000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading, Cit...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: You must ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Corporate Acti...
£350 - £400 per day: Harrington Starr: An opportunity has arisen at a FCA regu...