Hope for UK economy as trade gap shrinks
The trade deficit narrowed slightly in March, adding to hopes that the economy could be beginning to strengthen.
Official figures today showed that the deficit on the trade in goods was £9.1 billion in the month, which was offset by a £5.9 billion in surplus in services, leaving a total deficit of £3.1 billion. This was down from a £3.4 billion trade gap in February.
The news helped to propel the FTSE 100 above 6600. Martin Beck of Capital Economics described the figures as “reasonably good” but added that the eurozone’s ongoing recession would probably continue to cause problems for the UK. “With key export markets in that region remaining very weak, significant export-led growth is likely to remain a distant prospect” he said.
The value of UK exports grew by 3.5 per cent on the month while the value of imports rose by 2.6 per cent. There was a surplus of trade with the US and Ireland, which was offset by deficits with Germany, the Netherlands and China.
In 2012, the UK current account deficit hit a record high of 3.7 per cent, or £58 billion, confounding hopes that a 20 per cent depreciation of sterling since the financial crisis would facilitate a rebalancing of the economy towards exports.
The ONS also said that output from the construction sector declined by 2.3 per cent in March, taking the level of activity to its lowest since late 1998. The ONS judges that the building sector was a drag on total output in the first quarter, when GDP grew by 0.3 per cent.
NFL fans were so loud during a match that their celebrations registered as a minor earthquake
Tyre firm aimed to show how their tyres would perform in ‘unexpected’ conditions
filmAs she returns to musicals in Black Nativity, the Oscar winner opens up about coming back from tragedy
TelevisionThe enduring fascination with the life of the aristocrat fugitive continues in an ITV drama. We hear from its stars
North Korea: Kim Jong Un 'sacks powerful uncle and has his aides executed'
Nigella Lawson admits taking cocaine twice but says claims she was an addict are 'ridiculous'
Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
Lee Rigby murder trial: Police reveal dramatic new images and footage of the moments two suspects are arrested
Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts
- 1 John Williams' Stoner wins Waterstones Book of the Year
- 2 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 3 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 4 Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts
- 5 I’m sure Kate Moss doesn't care about posing for Playboy. But I do
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: My client is looking for for someone to...
£65000 - £80000 per annum + Bonus + Package : Harrington Starr: We are looking...
£340 - £450 per day: Cornwallis Elt : BUSINESS SUPPORT ANALYST- PMO, REPORTIN...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Core Ja...