13/03/12

  • UK trade deficit in goods and services was £1.8bn In January 2012, up from £1.2bn in December 2011
  • These figures support our belief that the economy returned to positive growth in the first quarter of the year, and a new recession will be avoided.”

Commenting on the trade figures for January 2012 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The increase in the trade deficit seen in January is not surprising following the vast improvement seen in December. Taking monthly fluctuations into account, the figures confirm a steady improvement in Britain’s trading position, although progress is not as strong as it should be. Exports are growing more quickly than imports, and it is reassuring that the economy is gradually rebalancing. These figures support our belief that the economy returned to positive growth in the first quarter of the year, and a new recession will be avoided.

“With the government’s tough deficit-cutting measures taking effect, any sustained UK recovery must rely on increased exports, business investment and replacing imports with domestically manufactured goods. But the road ahead will be difficult. Given the problems facing the global economy and the debt crisis in the eurozone, British exporters still face huge challenges to maintain their position in international markets. SMEs have a huge untapped potential to increase exports, and giving them extra support will benefit the national economy as a whole. While low interest rates and a competitive pound will continue to help British exporters, the government must do more to help British firms compete on equitable terms.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

ONS: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/uktrade/uk-trade/january-2012/stb-uk-trade-january-2012.html

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people. For more information visit: www.britishchambers.org.uk

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk