The UK's trade deficit widened by more than £2.5 billion in July, as exports of goods dropped to their lowest point in five years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS said goods exports fell £2.3bn to £22.8bn, the lowest it has been since Septemeber 2010. That contributed to the overall trade deficit growing by £2.6bn to £3.4bn in July. The figures showed that a widening of the deficit in goods, which rose from £8.5bn in June to £11.1bn in July, was to blame for the overall rise.
In addition, imports of goods increased by £300 million to £33.9bn over the same period.
In the three months to July, the trade in goods deficit narrowed by £3.8bn to £27.8bn. Exports increased by £1.2bn to £73.2bn and imports decreased by £2.6bn to £101.0bn over the same period. The ONS said the decrease in imports for the three months to July 2015 comes as a result of a £2.5bn fall in non-EU imports, the lowest figure since June 2010.
Joe Grice, ONS chief economist, said: “Today’s trade figures show a marked decline in goods exports in July, driven by a fall in exports of chemicals and manufactured goods, also reflected in today's manufacturing output figures. As a result, the balance has a bigger deficit than in recent months, but is still broadly in line with where it was earlier this year and last summer."