UK trade gap widens to £5.1bn, factory production dips by 0.3% in June
Britain’s trade deficit widened and factory production eased back in the weeks immediately before and after June’s EU referendum, the latest official figures have shown.
Data from the Office for National Statistics revealed that a spurt in manufacturing came to an end in June, with output dipping by 0.3%.
Meanwhile, UK exports failed to match the imports coming into the country, leading to a £0.9bn increase to £5.1bn in the trade deficit.
The ONS said there was little evidence of industry adopting a cautious approach as a result of the uncertainty caused by the closely fought referendum campaign. Its chief economist, Joe Grice, said: “As we previously highlighted in our preliminary estimate of GDP, production and the wider economy grew strongly in April and then remained at roughly the same level throughout May and June.
“Any uncertainties in the run-up to the referendum seem to have had little impact on production, with very few respondents to our surveys reporting it as an issue.”
The ONS said total production – which includes mining, output from the North Sea and energy supply as well as manufacturing – increased by 0.1% between May and June. Manufacturing, the biggest component of production, fell by 0.3%.