Britain’s trade deficit has risen to a five-month high, official data showed on Jan. 10, sparking concern over looming Brexit talks.
The deficit in goods and services, the gap between exports and imports, widened in November by 0.5 billion to a five-month high of 2.8 billion, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
However, the ONS also revealed that industrial output rebounded 0.4 percent in November compared with activity in October, aided by a strong energy sector.
Meanwhile this year, divorce talks between Britain and the European Union are set to move on to trade, transition arrangements and security, as London prepares to leave the bloc in March 2019.
“This trade data won’t exactly help UK plc in negotiations with Europe, as we begin crucial trade talks in earnest this year and with the Brexit deadline looming large,” said Jacob Deppe, head of trading at online trading platform Infinox.
“Further negative trade balances will undoubtedly be used by Brexiteers to justify the need to strike new trading relationships around the world.“
But in reality they only help to highlight the weaknesses within the UK economy, which are bound to be exploited in negotiations both with Europe and other potential trading partners post-Brexit.”