Trade deficit narrows

Excluding oil and erratic items, the seasonally adjusted volume of exports was 0.8% higher and the volume of imports 2.6% higher in August, compared with July.

Commenting, Iain MacDonald, head of trade product, Barclays Commercial, said: "That fact that the UK trade deficit narrowed in August should be welcomed, but to continue shrinking what still remains a mammoth deficit figure, UK Plc must focus on three simple words; the Far East. UK exporters making inroads into the markets of East and South East Asia will offer one of the greatest opportunities for accelerating a sustainable recovery in the UK, and one that isn't reliant on heavy domestic consumer spending.

"The latest ONS trade figures also show the surplus in the trade of services continues to grow favourably for the UK, offering a positive economic indicator for the coming year. We are also witnessing a confidence in international trade that was not apparent just a few months ago."