Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trade Deficit Surge Heaps Pressure on May's EU Talks

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Trade Deficit Surge Heaps Pressure on May's EU Talks

Article excerpt

Byline: Russell Lynch

THERESA May's efforts to open negotiations on trade with the EU were given added urgency today after the nation's deficit unexpectedly soared to its highest level for nearly a year.

Despite hopes that the 10%-plus fall in the pound since Brexit would boost the UK's trading position, its deficit with the rest of the world on goods and services jumped by PS1.7 billion to PS4.6 billion over the month, the highest level since September last year.

While exports increased, imports grew at a faster pace, the Office for National Statistics said, with chemicals, manufacturing raw materials and transport goods being shipped into the UK. Worryingly for Brexiteers looking for a rise in trading outside the EU bloc, exports of goods to non-EU countries fell by PS4 billion, or 8.8%, in the three months to August while exports to the EU jumped by 4.1%.

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "The latest trade data is further evidence that the decline in sterling's value over the past year is doing little to boost the UK's overall trade position. …

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