The UK’s balance of trade – the difference in monetary value between total imported and exported goods – has slipped to its highest level of deficit in over 300 years.
The gap in July was £8.238 billion, the highest imbalance since 1697. In August it was slightly down from that at £8.198bn.
“Looking ahead, exporters are going to struggle against the background of a rapidly weakening world economy, as survey measures of export orders have recently fallen very sharply,” said Paul Dales, UK economist at Capital Economics.
“Overall, these figures suggest that the weakening in overseas activity is deepening the downturn in the UK economy.”
Weakened demand for cars, ships and chemicals has been touted as the main driver for the fall.
With the decrease in oil prices however, import rates actually fell 1.4 per cent in August. This development comes despite everything else except oil going up 0.4 per cent.