• UK trade deficit in good and services was £1.5bn in July, compared with a deficit of £4.3bn in June
Commenting on the trade figures for July 2012, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:“The large decline in the July trade deficit more than reversed the setbacks recorded in June. Underlying export volumes rose in the last three months, while import volumes fell. We know that British exporters are facing major challenges due to problems in the eurozone and the global economy as a whole, so progress towards rebalancing will be slow and painful.
“However, the latest trade figures show encouraging progress, and reinforce our hope that the UK economy will return to positive growth in the third quarter of 2012. UK exports to non-EU countries were slightly higher than exports to the EU in the last three months, which shows a shift in the traditional pattern where exports to the EU are usually much stronger.
“These developments show that British exporters are making the right decisions and moving to faster-growing areas outside the EU. We have always stressed that exporting companies have huge untapped potential to expand, but need the right support to help them compete and break into new markets. Firmer action from government in key areas such as trade finance, promotion and insurance would be a good start, but this needs to be part of a general shift in priorities towards more policies to boost growth.”