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UK trade deficit up £300M in October

Britain's total trade deficit expanded by £300 million from the month before to £1.4 billion in October, primarily driven by an increase in imports from non-EU countries, the Office for National Statistics said.

It revised September's deficit to £1.6 billion, reflecting upward revisions to exports of services and goods of £1.3 billion and £200 million respectively, and a £100 million downward revision to imports.

Excluding erratic commodities, the deficit in October narrowed by £100 million to £1.9 billion.

In the three months to October, the trade deficit shrank by £2.7 billion to £5.0 billion, mainly due to a narrowing of the goods deficit with non-EU countries. Cutting out volatile commodities, the shortfall for the quarter widened by £800 million to £6.9 billion, the office said.

The increase in the deficit in the three months to October, excluding the impact of erratic goods, came on the back of a 2.9% gain in goods imports to £116.5 billion, offset partially by a 0.5% decrease in trade in services imports. The main contributors to higher imports of goods were oil, mechanical machinery and electrical machinery.

Goods exports jumped 1.7% to £81.7 billion. Exports of goods to EU countries increased by £1.1 billion, up 2.5% compared with the three months to July, while imports of goods rose faster by £2.3 billion, or 3.5%, causing an expansion of the goods deficit with the EU by £1.2 billion to £23.9 billion over the period.

The trade deficit with non-EU countries narrowed by £2.9 billion to £9.0 billion over the period, as exports rose by £2.2 billion, or 5.0%, and imports of goods saw a decline of £700 million, or 1.3%.