Trade balance widens further on the back of surging new imports

A SURGE in visible imports saw the UK’s trade gap widen from £3.1bn to £4.1bn in May, suggesting that the country could struggle to “rebalance” towards a more export-driven economy.

The deficit on trade in goods climbed to £8.5bn in May from £7.6bn in April, well above the average expectations of economists.

The trade balance on services, at least, was near-unchanged, with April’s £4.5bn surplus slipping only slightly to £4.4bn.

Elsewhere, the US trade gap also recorded a widening in May; yet in neighbouring Canada, the trade deficit narrowed due to a rise in exports to the European Union.

Canada’s overall trade deficit narrowed slightly in May to C$814m (£528m) from a revised C$857m in April. The US trade deficit totalled $50.2bn (£31.5bn) in May, the highest since October 2008, well above the expectations of economists.