Britain's official trade deficit strikes December record
Britain's trade-in-goods deficit hit a record high level in December and was propelled by surging imports, particularly for aircraft, official data showed on Wednesday.
The deficit expanded to £9.2 billion (10.9 billion euros, $14.8 billion) in December, compared with a downwardly-revised shortfall of £8.5 billion in November, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
That was the biggest deficit for the month since monthly records began in 1980.
The December figure compared with market expectations for a smaller shortfall of £8.7 billion, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
"Taken at face value these figures look pretty horrendous with the goods trade deficit reaching its highest level on record," said Ernst & Young economist Andrew Goodwin.
"But you have to bear in mind the extent of the disruption caused by the snow, with a number of airports being shut for several days and problems on many roads, so it would be unwise to draw any conclusions from the monthly figures."
For 2010 as a whole, meanwhile, the goods trade deficit soared to a record high at £97.2 billion, the ONS added.
© 2011 AFP