September 6 2013.

Commenting on the trade figures for July 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said:

"The larger-than-anticipated increase in the trade deficit is a reminder of the obstacles facing the UK economy as it starts to recover. Financial difficulties have hit key emerging economies in recent months, and this may have contributed to the large fall in exports to non-EU countries. Yet monthly figures can be erratic, and the underlying trend still shows a marked improvement from 2012. That said, more needs to be done to rebalance our economy towards net exports.

"The surplus of trade in services remains large, and our view remains that improvement in our trade deficit will have to increasingly rely on the service sector. Our recent surveys show huge untapped potential among British exporters, and the government must do more to help British firms penetrate new export markets. This will help them compete on a level-playing field internationally in areas such as trade finance, insurance and promotion."