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Trade deficit falls

UK’s trade deficit fell to £3.2 billion in November 2015, a narrowing of £0.3 billion from October 2015.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the narrowing attributed to trade in goods where the deficit decreased from £11.2 billion to £10.6 billion between October and November 2015. 

The decrease was mainly the result of a fall in import of goods of £0.9 billion to £33.9 billion. 

The ONS figures also show that:

  • the balance of trade in oil was in deficit by £0.6 billion, a narrowing of £0.5 billion from October 2015
  • oil exports increased by less than £0.1 billion to £1.6 billion between October and November 2015
  • imports decreased by £0.5 billion to £2.2 billion over the same period.

The fall in imports resulted in the UK’s global oil deficit almost halving between October and November 2015. 

Allie Renison, head of trade policy at Institution of Directors, commented:

“Cheap oil may be providing a boost for consumers, but it makes our trade balance volatile and skews the reality of Britain’s import and export levels.”

David Kern, British Chambers of Commerce chief economist, added:

“Although worsening global headwinds are contributing to the UK’s excessive trade deficit, the broader message is that unless radical measures are taken to strengthen our export performance, our trade deficit will continue to be a threat to the country’s long-term economic performance.”

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