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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 April 2007, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
UK trade deficit widens to 4.3bn
Toyota factory in Derbyshire
Exports to countries outside the EU fell
The UK's trade deficit widened by more than expected in February as imports rose and exports outside the EU fell, official figures have shown.

The shortfall in goods and services trade grew to 4.3bn from 4.1bn in January, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

The deficit in goods widened to 6.8bn from 6.4bn. Total exports fell to 18.4bn and imports climbed to 25.2bn.

The surplus in services was virtually unchanged at 2.5bn.

Analysts said the trade figures remained volatile on a month-by-month basis due to the large amount of trade associated with VAT or so-called carousel fraud.

Good start 'reversed'

January's deficit in goods and services was the smallest in 15 months.

However, February's data showed "a bigger than expected deterioration and unwinding the impressive start to the quarter registered last month", said Alan Clarke of BNP Paribas.

"Having got off to a good start in January this has been reversed suggesting the prospect for a boost from net trade to GDP has evaporated."

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