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Trade gap widens as imports surge

(SHARECAST) A surge in imports sent the UK’s goods trade gap higher in October against most predictions for a fall.

The Office for National Statistics reported the total trade gap in goods widened to £8.53bn in October from an upwardly revised deficit of £8.39bn in September.

Export orders have been hitting record highs recently, but none of that showed through this time with only oil exports improving.

The underlying global goods trade deficit was the worst since records began in 1992.

Imports were their highest on record at £31.6bn, up from £30.6bn in September.

Exports rose to £23.1bn from £22.2bn, their highest since May 2006, but this included a swing from a deficit of £954m to a surplus of £259m on the oil account.

On Wednesday, Confederation of British Industry said on Wednesday that factories were reporting the strongest export orders in 15 years, but even with this pick-up, the overall trade deficit, including services, widened in October to £3.95bn from a three-month low of £3.79bn in September.

“Most disappointingly, the deficit in traded goods excluding oil spiked up to £8.8bn in October from £7.4bn in October. Exports increased by 1.7 percent in October, which was a reasonable performance, but this was swamped by imports surging by 6.2 percent. At least though, this points to decent domestic demand,” Howard Archer, chief economist at Global Insight said.


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