Business

UK's September trade deficit smallest since June

Containers on Tilbury Dock
Image caption The trade and industrial output figures show the UK economy in mixed health

The UK's trade deficit narrowed slightly in September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The UK's deficit on trade in goods and services was £4.6bn, compared with a deficit of £4.9bn in August. The trade gap shrank to £8.23bn from £8.47bn.

It was the second monthly improvement since the deficit hit a five-year high in July.

However, separate figures showed growth in manufacturing output slowed to 0.1% from 0.4% in August.

This was the weakest growth in manufacturing for five months.

The wider measure of industrial production - which includes mining, oil, gas and utilities - grew by 0.4% in September, with August's growth rate being upwardly revised to 0.4%.

However, IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said the manufacturing figures boded ill for the future.

"The reduced rise in manufacturing output in September fuels suspicion that manufacturing activity will be pressurised increasingly over the coming months by stock rebuilding winding down, tighter fiscal policy weighing down on domestic demand, and slower global growth hitting foreign demand for UK products," he said

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