By Max Clarke

UK manufacturing has witnessed rapid growth, with manufacturing export sales balances soaring to a 16 year high while business confidence has also reached a high not seen since the pre-recession fourth quarter of 2007 according to the Quarterly Economic Survey.

Despite these strengths in the UK manufacturing sector, further encouraged by a weak pound, the gap in UK trade has widened to a monthly record of £8.74bn.

Jeremy Cook, chief economist at currency specialists World First foreign exchange said:

“The fact that these imports are higher can be looked at positively when combined with the recent strong data from the manufacturing sector and given exports have risen we are seeing some “rebalancing” in the UK economy, helped by the weak pound. However, crude prices are only likely to continue increasing in the short term and therefore this gap should continue to widen.”

Also commenting on November’s trade figures published today (Wednesday) by the ONS, David Kern-Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC)- said:

“These figures are mixed with a slight increase in the overall size of the trade deficit. But the underlying trends are positive, with the volume of exports rising at a faster rate than the volume of imports in November.