U.K. Trade Deficit Was Wider Than Forecast


The U.K.'s trade deficit was wider than economists forecast in November as imports of goods swelled to the most in 1 1/2 years, driven by record purchases of oil.

The goods trade gap was 7.4 billion pounds ($14.5 billion), the same as October, the Office for National Statistics said in London today. Economists forecast a 7.2 billion-pound deficit, according to the median of 18 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

The report signals British demand for goods and energy from overseas had yet to cool in November as the economy grew last year at the fastest pace since 2004. The deficit may narrow as economic growth weakens and the pound's drop to a record low against the currency of the 15-nation euro region drives higher exports to Britain's biggest overseas market.

Imports rose 1.9 percent to 27 billion pounds, the most since June 2006, on demand for oil, fuel, aircraft and capital goods, the statistics office said. Purchases of oil increased also as crude reached close to $100 a barrel in November. Exports climbed 2.5 percent to 19.6 billion pounds.

Sales to the European Union rose 3.2 percent to 11.6 billion pounds, the most since August 2006, the report showed.


TradingEconomics.com, Bloomberg
1/10/2008 6:37:38 AM