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UK trade deficit widens in December

From BBC - February 9, 2018

A rise in oil prices and higher imports contributed to a widening of the UK's trade deficit in December.

The gap between exports and imports rose to 13.6bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, which was higher than analysts' forecasts.

Separate ONS data showed industrial output experienced its biggest fall since 2012, largely due to the shutdown of the Forties North Sea pipeline.

Industrial output fell by 1.3% in December from the month before.

However, the ONS said UK's manufacturing sector, which is part of overall industrial output, saw output rise by 0.3% on the month, marking the eighth consecutive month of growth in the sector - the longest run in almost 30 years.

Further ONS data showed construction output also rose, by 1.6%, in December.

The ONS's senior statistician, Ole Black, said: "The headline trade deficit widened in the fourth quarter with the impact of increased oil imports accentuated by rising crude prices."

"Construction was broadly flat across 2017, thanks to a strong December. However, house building and infrastructure were the only bright spots with all other areas of the industry falling back throughout the year."

Trade contribution 'limited'

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