Trade gap widens as exports plunge


The UK trade deficit widened to a record level in June, official figures showed today, as exports plunged across the world.

The goods and services deficit - the gap between imports and exports - rose to £4.3 billion from £2.7 billion in May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, the highest level since comparable records began in 1997.

The increase was driven by a 4.6% month-on-month fall in the value of exports, which was "worryingly" not just to countries within the troubled eurozone but further afield.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said: "Hopes that net trade could boost overall economic activity have proved to be horribly misplaced in the first half of 2012."