• UK trade deficit in goods and services was £3.4bn in February, up from revised deficit of £2.5bn in January
Commenting on the trade statistics for February 2012 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:“The trade deficit increase in February is disappointing, especially as  the volume of exporting goods fell by more than five percent, while imports declined by less than one percent. Although the monthly trade figures can be volatile, and not too much weight should be given to one single figure, it is clear that the rebalancing of the economy towards exports is too slow.
“With the government’s deficit cutting measures squeezing domestic demand, a sustained UK recovery relies on exports, business investment, and replacing imports with domestically-produced goods. Given the renewed debt problems in the eurozone and difficulties in the global economy, British exporters will face challenges in maintaining their position in international markets.
“The government must act to address these issues by giving small- and medium-sized firms in particular extra support in key areas such as trade finance, insurance, promotion, market knowledge and skills. It is crucial to enable British firms to compete on equitable terms. While low interest rates and a competitive pound will help to reduce our deficit, British exporters must reinforce their efforts to break into faster growing markets such as China, India and Brazil.”