The UK's trade deficit – the gap between its imports and exports – narrowed to its smallest in 13 months in April, figures published today showed.
The deficit more than halved to £1.2bn in April, compared with £3.1bn in March. Total exports rose 1.2 per cent between March and April, while imports fell 3.1 per cent.
Broken down by industry, the deficit on goods hit £8.6bn, while the services sector created a £7.4bn surplus.
Exports to the US rose 23 per cent during the month, while goods sent to the Eurozone rose by a modest 0.6 per cent, suggesting sterling's strength against the euro could be holding up trade with European economies.
After figures published last month showed the UK grew just 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, the figures will provide hope for markets.Howard Archer, the chief European and UK economist at IHS, suggested trade could "very well make a positive contribution to growth".