British official trade deficit stable in March
(LONDON) - Britain's trade-in-goods deficit held steady in March, despite a widening trade gap with European Union countries, official data showed on Tuesday.
The deficit stood at GBP 8.6 billion (10.7 billion euros, $13.8 billion), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. That was unchanged from February's downwardly-revised shortfall.
Market expectations had been for a March deficit of GBP 8.5 billion, according to economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
The ONS added that the trade-in-goods deficit with EU countries widened to GBP 4.5 billion in March, compared with GBP 3.7 billion in February.
However, the deficit with non-EU countries improved to GBP 4.1 billion from GBP 4.9 billion.
"Given events in the eurozone, it is perhaps unsurprising that the reduction in the deficit was driven by an improvement in the trade balance with non-EU countries," noted Capital Economics analyst Martin Beck.
"In the near-term, the dominating influence is likely to be the continuing travails of Greece and the wider euro-area."
He added: "The deepening of the eurozone crisis in recent days suggests that the near-term export outlook remains pretty poor."
Text and Picture Copyright 2012 AFP. All other Copyright 2012 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.