By Marcus Leach

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the gap in the UK's balance of trade has widened in May.

The increase in the gap was unexpected, as it rose from £3.1 billion in April to £4.1 billion in May.

The increase in the gap was fuelled by a 13% increase in imports of semi-manufactured goods, with chemical products increasing by 20%.

Analysts had expected the overall goods deficit to be in the region of £7.4 billion, whereas it actually rose to £8.5 billion.

Economists said that the data provided further evidence that growth in the UK economy may have stagnated in the second quarter of the year.

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