UK trade deficit in goods and services narrows to £1.6bn in October from £4.3bn in September


  Commenting on the trade figures for October, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 

“The narrowing of the trade deficit and strong increase in export volumes provide much needed relief to the steady stream of gloomy comments we have heard over the past few weeks. During October, there was an exceptionally strong nine percent increase in export volumes, and though some of this might have been erratic, the trend is clearly in the right direction. Imports also fell in October, and longer-term comparisons show stronger growth in exports than in imports, on both an annual and a three-monthly basis.  

“The trade figures are welcome and better than many expected, but there is no room for complacency. The problems facing the eurozone are serious, and pose challenges for our exporters since Europe remains our largest trading partner. Every effort must be made to ensure that British exporters are able to compete with those from other countries.  

“Unless growth in exports strengthens further and British businesses gain market share from imports, it will be difficult to sustain growth in the UK. The government must support a national export drive, and strengthen support for businesses in key areas such as trade finance, insurance and promotion. A competitive pound is also critical to the success of our exporters, and this is one of the reasons for an additional increase in the Quantitative Easing programme early in 2012. On their part, British businesses must make every effort to seek out opportunities in new, fast-growing markets, such as China, Brazil and India.”