By Marcus Leach

Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics showed that there has been a reduction in the trade deficit.

The main findings for the figures showed the following:

- The UK’s seasonally adjusted deficit on trade in goods and services was £2.4 billion in February, compared with the deficit of £3.9 billion in January.

- Excluding oil and erratic items, the seasonally adjusted volume of exports was 2.9 per cent higher but the volume of imports was 3.2 per cent lower in February compared with January.

“Reflecting the major reduction in the deficit, UK exporters continue to benefit from global currency fluctuations, with fiscal tightening amongst trading partners such as China, Australia and most recently the eurozone putting further upward pressure on these currencies," Iain MacDonald, Head of Trade Product, Barclays Corporate, said.

"The sterling has remained competitive in comparison, offsetting some of the issues around oil and other rising commodity prices for exporters.

“Many importing businesses are faced with the triple threat of the weak pound, suppressed domestic consumer demand and the significant rise in oil prices, which is beginning to have a major impact on the cost of imported goods and transport costs.

"While this may be positive for the long-term macroeconomic picture as it forces UK companies to move away from a reliance on debt-fuelled consumer spending, many of our clients are really beginning to feel the bite.”