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UK trade deficit worsens in August

Staff Writer |
Britain's shortfall in its trade with the rest of the world worsened in August amid a jump of purchases of goods from abroad.

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The total UK trade deficit for goods and services increased in August by £2.5bn from the month before to reach £4.7bn, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Exports of goods increased by £0.1bn to £25.8bn but imports jumped by £2.6bn to £37.9bn, leaving a shortfall of £12.1bn versus -££9.5bn in July (consensus: -££11.2bn).

The main drivers of the increased imports were more purchases of electrical machinery (£0.7bn) and aircraft (£0.5bn), alongside gains in imports of cars (£0.4bn) and mechanical machinery and chemicals (£0.3bn).

Offsetting that worsening slightly, the surplus in the services balance improved from £7.3bn in July to £7.4 in August.

In terms of quarterly rates of change, the pattern was very similar, with exports rising by 1.2% or £0.9bn between the three months ending in May and the three months finishing in August, while imports did so by 4.0% or £4.2bn.

Over that same time frame, the deficit in the goods balance with the EU widened by £0.8bn to £23.9bn while that with countries from outside the EU worsened to the tune of £2.5bn, reaching £10.7bn.

Also in terms of quarterly rates of change, the services surplus narrowed by £0.3bn to £22.0bn.

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