Drop in sterling impacting UK’s trade position

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) says the sterling devaluation is doing little to help UK’s trade position.

The ONS's UK trade Nov 2016 statistical bulletin announced today, which measures the total value of UK imports and exports of goods together with indices of volume and price, shows the UK’s deficit on trade in goods and services was estimated to have been £4.2 billion in November, a widening of £2.6 billion from October 2016, reflecting a £3.3 billion increase in imports, partially offset by a £0.7 billion increase in exports.

Commenting on the report Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the BCC, said: “The widening of the UK’s trade deficit in November is disappointing, and signifies a considerably weaker trading position than the average for the year. While exports increased slightly in the month, this was more than offset by a record rise in imports, confirming that there is little evidence that the fall in the value of the pound is boosting the UK’s overall trade balance.

“Trade is likely to make a greater contribution to UK GDP in the next few years, as the persistent currency weakness feeds through into improved price competitiveness for some exporters, and diminishes demand for imports. However, the extent of any improvement is likely to be curbed by subdued global trade growth, and the higher cost of imported raw materials."

Mr Thiru goes on to say that in order for meaningful improvement in the UK's export performance to improve, the government must step in to help businesses gain access new markets.

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