Boost: Exports of British goods jumped 8.7 per cent
The ailing UK economy was given a much needed boost yesterday after exports of British goods hit a record high.
Figures showed exports jumped 8.7 per cent to an unprecedented £26.5bn in October despite turmoil in the eurozone and the global slowdown.
Exports to the European Union rose 6.1 per cent to £13.9bn while sales to the rest of the world surged 11.5 per cent to £12.6bn.
China was Britain’s seventh biggest market in October, leapfrogging Italy and Spain, after sales soared 13 per cent to £895m.
The United States and Germany remained the two major markets, buying £3.3bn and £2.9bn of British goods respectively.
Booming exports helped narrow the trade deficit from £10.2bn in September to £7.6bn in October and raised hopes that Britain can avoid a double-dip recession.
Imports fell from September’s record high of £34.6bn to £34.1bn. Kah Chye Tan, head of trade at Barclays Corporate, said: ‘The massive reduction in the UK’s trade deficit will certainly bring some Christmas cheer, but this may be short lived as the UK’s key export markets struggle.’
Manufacturing powerhouse Germany is already suffering from the crisis in the eurozone. Figures published in Berlin showed German exports dropped 3.6 per cent in October – the biggest fall since April.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit in London, said: ‘The UK is clearly not immune to the slowdown in global economic and is especially exposed to the crisis in the eurozone, which typically accounts for two-fifths of all UK exports.
‘Nevertheless, the fact that UK exports are continuing to grow is hugely encouraging. Most striking is the divergence between export performance in the UK and Germany.’