British trade deficit jumps in March: official
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.