February 7 2014.

- UK deficit on trade in goods and services was £1.0bn in December 2013, compared with deficit of £3.6bn in Nov 2013

- There was a deficit of £7.7bn on goods, partly offset by a surplus of £6.7bn in services

- The narrowing of the trade deficit reflects a 2.1% increase in exports, and a 3.8% fall in imports

- Manufacturing output in December 2013: up 0.3% on the month; up 1.5% on the year

- Total production figures in December 2013: up 0.4% on the month; up 1.8% on the year

Commenting on the trade and production figures for December 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: “The large fall in the trade deficit is good news, and while monthly figures can be erratic, it demonstrates that British businesses have the drive and ability to increase exports. It is especially pleasing to see the deficit reduced when our economy is growing faster than those of our trading partners, as imports tend to increase in such circumstances. The goods deficit with countries outside the EU has narrowed in each of the last six months, and exports to these countries are also growing.

“The production figures also make good reading, even if they are not as strong as the ONS predicted in its GDP estimate. While they shouldn’t adversely impact the GDP estimate of 0.7%, the recovery still needs work to ensure that it is sustainable, and the government must continue to look at measures to boost growth further.”