Britain's trade gap widens

BRITAIN'S goods trade deficit with the rest of the world was wider than expected in April – after disruption to air traffic as a result of the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, official figures have showed.

The Office for National Statistics said Britain's goods trade deficit with the rest of the world widened to £7.279bn in April up from £7.259bn in March and the biggest since January.

Analysts had expected a narrowing to £7bn.

Exports fell 0.6 per cent and imports fell by 0.4 per cent on the month. This was the first fall in exports since January's weather-related decline of 5.7 per cent.

The ONS said the six days of flight disruption in April affected both exports and imports in the month, although it was not possible to quantify the impact.

It said the flight ban will have had more of an impact on trade with non-EU countries.
The goods trade gap with non-EU countries narrowed slightly to £3.991bn broadly in line with analysts' forecasts.

Britain’s oil deficit widened to £413M in April from a revised £170m shortfall in March – the biggest deficit since September 2009.

But the ONS said that was just down to normal volatility in the figures.