By Lea Pachta

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today reported its December trade figures, which have highlighted Britain’s unexpected widening trade deficit with the rest of the world. The figures show that the deficit in goods and services was £3.3 billion in December, compared with £2.9 billion in November.

Commenting on this Anne White, head of international trade for the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group, said: “In contrast to our recent Quarterly Economic Survey results, which highlighted an overall improvement in the UK’s international trade activities, these figures show a welcome increase in exports; however, the rise in imports is stronger and the trade deficit has widened. It is clear that the much-needed rebalancing of the economy towards export-led growth is not progressing quickly enough.

“With the favourable international environment for British exporters, given the competitive sterling exchange rate and global growth edging up, the UK’s trading performance is not strong enough.

“To strengthen Britain’s international trading position, the government must be more forceful in its support of our exporters, implementing measures that ensure adequate trade finance is available.”