UK exports fall to November 2010 low

Peter Spence
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After what the UK's statisticians call "erratic commodities" impacts, they've thrown caution on the latest release of monthly trade data.

Exports fell by 1.6 per cent in the month of February, while imports dropped by 2.2 per cent, says the Office for National Statistics.

But they recommend "users also focus on three month on three month movements". Those show exports falling by 2.5 per cent in the three months ending February, and imports were down by 4.7 per cent.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, says the data reveals "mixed news on the trade front", with net trade likely to be a modest drag on GDP growth in the first quarter of this year.

With exports now at £23.5bn at February, that's their lowest level since November 2010. Seasonally adjusted, the trade deficit in goods and services comes in at £2.1bn, that's down from £2.2bn in January.

The team at RBS say it's "not as good as it looks." While the trade deficit has almost halved in the three months to February, those falls in export and import volumes are concerning.