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Uk Trade Gap Narrows Sharply, Helped By Exports, Oil Prices

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http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/03/12/uk-britain-trade-idUKKBN0M80WX20150312

Britain's trade deficit fell to its narrowest in over 14 years in the three months to January, helped by rising exports and cheaper oil, another sign of improvement in one of the recovering economy's weak spots.

In January alone, the deficit in trade of goods and services shrank to 616 million pounds, less than a third of its size in December, official data showed.

The three-month reading of the deficit -- a less volatile measure -- was its smallest since October 2000, the Office for National Statistics said on Thursday.

"Trade has made a strong start to 2015," Simon Wells, an economist with HSBC, said. "Although the headline trade deficit has clearly been flattered by the fall in the oil price, the underlying volumes picture was favourable in January."

The pound rose against the dollar after the data, having hit a 20-month low overnight as investors bet on a U.S. interest rate hike coming soon.

The strong recovery of the U.S. economy and signs that the battered euro zone might be on the mend are helping the outlook for Britain's exporters.

Exports of goods in the three months to January were up nearly 6 percent compared with the previous three months -- including an increase in sales to the European Union -- while imports rose 2 percent.

Almost perfectly timed for the election... the economy is recovering...

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It would have been interesting to see the actual overall figures imports/exports and it's a fair bet that the large reduction in the oil price contributes most. That's the main thing that has changed the most in the last few months.

Also is the UK actually exporting that amount of increased volume of goods (rather than just in financial terms because of inflation) - it doesn't say in the article.

It wouldn't be a surprise if imports have increased a fair amount as people have a bit more spare money due to the reduced fuel prices.

The headlines will be tweaked of course for the general election.

Edited by billybong

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