British official trade deficit widens in March

11th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's trade deficit grew by more than expected in March, official data showed on Wednesday.

The deficit -- the difference between goods exported and imported -- expanded to £7.7 billion (8.8 billion euros, $12.6 billion) in March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

That compared with a deficit of £7.0 billion in February, which was upgreaded from the previous estimate of £6.8 billion.

The March figure overshot market expectations for a smaller deficit of £7.5 billion, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Exports fell 0.5 percent to hit £24.9 billion in March, while imports rose 1.7 percent to £32.6 billion.

"The widening in the UK trade deficit in March was all but inevitable after such a sharp narrowing in the previous two months," said Capital Economics senior UK economist Vicky Redwood.

"The big picture is that the trade position is still looking a lot better than a few months ago.

"The trade in goods deficit rose from £7.0 billion to £7.7 billion -- but that compares to almost £10 billion at the end of last year."

© 2011 AFP

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