British trade deficit jumps in March: official

13th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's trade-in-goods deficit rose more than expected in March as imports outpaced exports, official data showed Thursday, highlighting that a weak pound was failing to boost exporters.

The deficit widened to 7.5 billion pounds (8.8 billion euros, 11 billion dollars) in March from an upwardly-revised 6.3 billion pounds in February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Analysts had forecast a widening to only 6.6 billion pounds, according to Dow Jones Newswires. February's deficit has originally been put at 6.2 billion pounds.

"The March trade deficit deteriorated ... highlighting that the cheap pound has yet to provide the necessary growth boost," said CMC Markets analyst Ashraf Laidi.

City Index analyst Joshua Raymond added: "Investors are hoping that weak sterling will help to narrow the deficit somewhat in the near term but certainly this piece of data has raised a few eyebrows and the reaction by and large was to sell sterling and (London-traded) equities."

In March, the value of exports rose 1.0 percent to 21.4 billion pounds, far below February's 9.5-percent jump -- which had been the sharpest increase for more than seven years.

Also in March, imports climbed 5.2 percent to 29 billion pounds.

© 2010 AFP

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