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Trade deficit widens to pounds 300m

BRITAIN'S TRADE deficit with the rest of the world widened slightly in July to pounds 300m against pounds 200m in June, with a slowdown in business with Russia adding to woes caused by the strong pound and weak demand from Asia.

Goods exports fell 1 per cent during July to pounds 13.8bn while imports were stable at pounds 15.2bn. But the widening trade deficit in goods during July was partly offset by trade in services where exports were stable. The balance of trade in the services showed a surplus of pounds 1.1bn in July unchanged over the previous month.

However, with the numbers in line with City forecasts and not a key concern for the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee, the report will have few implications for interest rates, economists said.