Balance of trade falls by £0.9bn
EU trade rises, but doesn't offset fall in non-EU trade.
Britain's total trade deficit was £3.4bn in February, up from £2.5bn in January. Total exports fell by 2 per cent, while imports rose but by just 0.2 per cent. The goods deficit rose further still, from £7.8bn to £8.7bn, with the entirity of the fall due to a 3.4 per cent reduction in exports. This is a gap of over £1bn more than forecasted – the consensus was that the deficit would fall slightly to £7.7bn. January's trade in goods has also been revised downwards by over £300m. Britain remains a net exporter in services, although our trade surplus fell very slightly.
Finally erratics - ships, aircraft, precious stones and silver - lived up to their name, with a 26 per cent increase in imports leading to a £440m fall in net exports.
The Eurozone remains troubled, but our exports there have stabilised. In fact, our trade deficit with EU members fell by £400m, from £4.1bn to £3.7bn. The vast majority of the massive increase in the trade deficit came from a sharp fall in exports to non-EU countries, which fell by £1.1bn.