Signs of recovery as exports to US surge

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The Independent Online

British exports to the United States surged in January at the fastest rate since modern records began, providing fresh evidence that the world's largest economy has embarked on a rapid recovery.

Both import and export volumes rose for the first time since before 11 September, official UK figures showed, pointing to a revival in trade volumes.

The figures came as Sir Edward George, the Governor of the Bank of England, said a global economic recovery was now under way.

Speaking after a regular meeting of central bankers from Europe, the US and Japan, Sir Edward said there was "good evidence" equity prices were rising and consumer spending, particularly in the electronic sector, was increasing.

His comments came as the UK trade figures showed exports had started to benefit from the upturn in corporate and consumer confidence.

Exports to countries outside the European Union rose by 9.2 per cent between December and January. This was driven by a £385m jump in exports volumes to the US, the largest since monthly records began in 1988, and an increase of more than 17 per cent. It helped narrow the UK's trade deficit with the rest of the world to £2.59bn from December's £3.13bn. Economists had forecast a £3.0bn shortfall.