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UK trade deficit narrows to £1.2bn


The UK trade deficit fell to £1.2bn in April from £3.1bn in March, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).


The trade deficit describes how much imports exceed exports by value. The figure for April was less than most economists predicted, with an £8.6bn deficit on goods being partially offset by an estimated surplus of £7.4bn on services.


David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Monthly trade figures are notoriously volatile but today's significant improvement is nonetheless very welcome, but there is no room for any complacency.


"The longer-term trend still shows a worsening in the trade position in recent months. It is clear that we are not making enough, sustained, progress in closing the trade gap."


Poor demand in the eurozone has meant that many UK exporters have struggled in recent years. The ONS found that imports were up 2.1% in the quarter to April, but exports were flat after 0.3% growth in the first quarter.


The UK's trade deficit for 2014 was £34.8bn, the highest since 2010.