• UK deficit on trade in goods and services was £2.4bn in May, compared with £2.1bn in April
• There was a deficit of £8.5bn on goods, partly offset by a surplus of £6.1bn in services
• Between April and May 2013, the volume of exports in goods fell by 1.4%, and the volume of imports rose by 1.7%.
Commenting on the trade figures for May 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:“The overall trade deficit is slightly up, but the April figure was revised down, which paints a mixed picture. Worryingly, the volume of exports in goods fell while imports increased.
“However revisions to last year’s figures show that the surplus in service exports was £3.8bn greater than initially estimated, confirming our view that this sector is strong and more emphasis should be placed on boosting this area of our trade balance.
“Overall, our trade deficit is still too large, and we are not making fast enough progress in rebalancing our economy towards net exports. Our recent economic survey revealed huge untapped potential among British exporters, especially in services, and releasing this potential will help to secure a sustainable recovery. The government must work to help firms penetrate new markets, and help UK exporters compete on a level playing field, when it comes to trade finance, promotion, and insurance.”