Britain’s global goods trade deficit “unexpectedly” widened in September to its worst since the start of the year as surging imports outpaced the growth in exports.
The Office for National Statistics said that September’s goods trade deficit was £7.2 billion, up from £6.1 billion in August. City economists had expected the figure to be unchanged. They got it wrong again.
Deterioration in the trade balance was largely due to the government’s car scrappage scheme, unsurprisingly, causing a rise in car imports, which rose by 30 per cent.
Britain’s goods trade gap with countries outside the EU also widened “unexpectedly” to £3.8 billion from £3.1 billion in August. Analysts had forecast a deficit of £3 billion.
The total trade deficit, which includes the traditional surplus in services trade, widened to £3.5 billion – the worst since August 2008.