Britain’s trade deficit for the three months to the end of July narrowed to £1.2bn from £1.6m in the previous three months. The latest estimate, based on data from July, suggests the trend has been broadly flat over recent months.
Trade minister Brian Wilson welcomed the figures. ‘The deficit on goods fell by a quarter of a billion pounds, while the surplus on services was the largest since the Office of National Statistics began publishing monthly figures over five years ago,’ he said.
‘This shows that despite the challenging international environment in which business is operating, UK companies are able to compete successfully, with the volume of goods having risen over the last year.’
In value terms, almost all the growth was in exports to non-EU countries.
Within the EU, a rise in exports to the Benelux region was offset by a fall in exports to Germany.
The value of all the growth in imports from non-EU countries was offset by a fall in imports from EU countries, particularly France, Italy and Denmark.
Outside the EU, largest rises were in imports from Rest of World and Other Western Europe.