UK trade deficit widens in April

Posted on June 15, 2012

Britain’s exports of goods fell sharply in April, offset partially by a smaller drop in imports, with exports of cars down sharply because of weaker demand from buyers outside the eurozone, according to official data on Friday.

The decline in car exports to the US, China and Russia was particularly notable.

    The Office for National Statistics said that the UK’s balance of trade deficit – which includes imports and exports of both goods and services – widened more sharply than expected in April to £4.4bn, compared with a shortfall of £3bn in March.

    Overall, the UK’s deficit in trade in goods widened to £10.1bn in April, a much bigger gap than the £8.5bn forecast among economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The deficit in March was £8.7bn.

    Excluding oil and the prices of other goods that move erratically, the volume of exports was 7.1 per cent lower than in March while the volume of imported goods fell 3 per cent.

    “The goods balance will remain firmly in deficit through 2012, said Melanie Bowler, economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Weak demand from key European trade partners will weigh heavily on exports. The strong pound versus the euro is adding to problems. However, weaker demand for imports should prevent the balance from deteriorating substantially further.”

    Exports to the European Union fell 6.7 per cent in April from March, while imports slipped 3 per cent, creating a trade deficit of £4.9bn. Exports to the rest of the world dropped 10.3 per cent in April from March, while imports declined 1.9 per cent, resulting in a trade deficit of £5.2bn.

    Within the eurozone, exports of goods to Germany fell most sharply, marking a decline of £0.5bn, while outside it, exports to the US fell 0.3bn and those to Turkey and China fell £0.1bn. However, exports to South Korea rose £0.1bn.

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