Cargoship

The UK's trade deficit shrank slightly between December and January following a fall in imports, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The deficit on goods and services was £3.5 billion in January, compared with the same period last year, down from £3.7bn in December.

The ONS said narrowing was driven by a fall in goods imports, rather than a rise in exports. The deficit on goods fell from £10.5bn to £10.3bn. However, excluding excluding oil and "erratics", the ONS said the goods deficit actually grew by £0.5bn.

The ONS often urges caution on monthly figures, which tend to be volatile, instead focusing on quarterly and annual figures. In the three months to the end of January, the deficit actually widened by £3.5bn to £11.8bn, compared with the previous quarter.