Imports push goods trade deficit to record high

Imports of oil and aircraft pushed Britain's goods trade deficit to a record high in November, official figures showed today.





The trade in goods deficit - the difference between goods exported and imported - widened to £8.7 billion in November, from £8.6 billion in October, the Office for National Statistics said.



The overall trade deficit, which includes services as well as goods, widened from £4 billion to £4.1 billion.



Total goods imported rose by 3.4% to £32.4 billion in the month, while goods exported rose by 4.1% to £23.6 billion, the ONS said.



Economists said a widening trade deficit was a blow to hopes that net trade - when exports outstrip imports - could make a positive contribution to economic growth in the fourth quarter of the year.



After slashing public sector spending, the Government has pinned its hopes for economic recovery on the private sector, and net trade will be key to growth.



Latest survey evidence has offered hope for exports going forward. The export orders balance of the CBI's industrial trends survey jumped to a 15-year high in December, while the export orders index for the manufacturing purchasing managers' survey was at the second highest level in its 15-year history.



The escalating eurozone debt crisis - with nations including Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy all falling victim - has cast a shadow over export trade in the months ahead.



But Vicky Redwood, senior economist at Capital Economics, said the troubles in parts of the euro-zone seem to have had little adverse effect on the UK so far.



She said: "November's UK trade figures are not as bad as the widening in the headline deficits suggests. However, it is clear that net trade is giving at best a limited boost to the wider economic recovery.



"The big picture is that the external sector needs to start playing a much bigger role in the recovery if the economy is to weather the fiscal squeeze now under way."



She said excluding oil and erratics, such as aircraft, the trade in goods balance narrowed from £8 billion to £7.4 billion.



Ms Redwood went on: "Encouragingly, exports rose strongly in November. The continued upbeat tone of the forward-looking measures of export orders suggest that exports will keep growing strongly in the near-term."



Import prices for traded goods were unchanged at 1.7% in November, figures which are likely to soothe the Bank of England's concerns over inflation.



Cost of living has been stubbornly high in recent months - the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation was up 3.3% in November, up from 3.2% in October.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Life and Style
fashion David Beckham fronts adverts for his underwear collection
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
art
News
i100Most young people can't
Sport
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
football
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Head of Service and Support (Financial Services, ITIL, ORC, TT)

£75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of Service and Support (Financial Ser...

Calypso Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, J2EE, JAXB, ...

Service Delivery Manager - ITIL / ServiceNow / Derivatives

£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading Financial Services orga...

Senior Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home