UK trade deficit widens slightly in April

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Both imports and exports fell in April

The UK's trade deficit widened slightly in April, with both imports and exports affected by the volcanic eruption in Iceland that grounded flights in and out of the UK for about six days.

The trade deficit in goods and services was £3.3bn in April, marking an increase on the previous month after March's figure was revised to £3.2bn.

The goods deficit also rose slightly from £7.26bn to £7.28bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Exports fell 0.6%, imports fell 0.4%.

The ONS said it was not possible to estimate the actual impact of the ash disruption, but added that the impact on the trade balance was likely to be "fairly minimal, given that exports and imports are air-freighted in similar proportions".

"It's hard to read too much into these figures because of distortions due to the volcanic ash disruption," Brian Hilliard, chief UK economist at Societe Generale, commented.

But he added: "It is possible the deficit could get a bit worse in the near term because of doubts about the strength of recovery in the eurozone."

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