U.K. trade deficit in goods widened visibly in August, hitting the highest level on record, new figures showed Tuesday, signaling the hoped-for rebalancing of the economy towards trade has yet to materialize.
Britain imported GBP14.2 billion($18.6 billion) in goods more than it sold to the rest of the world, the Office for National Statistics said, a widening of GBP1.4 billion.
This was driven largely by a drop in the export of fuels, and an increase in imports of mechanical machinery.
Separately, the ONS also said that the monthly growth in Britain’s industrial production slowed slightly compared to July, partly due to oil and gas production falling as a delayed summer maintenance finally kicked in.
British industries’ output grew by 0.2% on the month in August, down from 0.3% the previous month and in line with the expectations of analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Factory output grew at an unchanged monthly pace compared with July, by 0.4%, against analysts’ expectations of a slight decline.
As above-target inflation continues to squeeze British shoppers, economists say that trade and production will need to do more heavy-lifting to stop the economy from stuttering just as the U.K. negotiates its exit from the European Union.
Source: Dow Jones