The UK’s trade deficit widened to its highest level in almost seven years in April 2012, confirming that the UK economy remains weak, official figures showed today.
In its monthly report on UK trade, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that a sharp decline in exports resulted in the UK’s deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services expanding more than expected, growing to GBP4.4bn compared with a deficit of GBP3.0bn in March.
The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods increased by GBP1.4bn to GBP10.1bn, while the UK had a surplus on trade in services of GBP5.7bn in April, down GBP0.1bn compared with March.
Britain’s exports of goods fell by 8.6% to GBP23.8bn in April, driven most notably by lower exports of chemicals and cars. Car exports were down GBP0.5bn, resulting from weaker demand from the US, China and Russia.
Exports to countries within the European union declined by 6.8% on the month.
The decrease in exports was partly offset by 2.5% drop in imports to GBP33.9bn, with lower imports of intermediate goods, oil and precious stones but higher imports of silver and aircraft.
Excluding oil and erratic items, the UK’s volume of exports was 7.1% lower than in March while the volume of imports fell 3.0%.