World Economy

UK Trade Deficit Widens

UK Trade Deficit WidensUK Trade Deficit Widens

The trade deficit for the UK widened by £3.4 billion ($4.7 billion) in the three months to January 2018 to £8.7 billion, as imports of fuels to the country rose, BBC reported. The trade deficit in fuels alone widened to £5.4 billion from £3.1 billion, largely driven by oil, of which imports were up 17.4%. According to the Office for National Statistics, oil exports fell by 5.8%. The ONS said that while there was no evidence of a direct link, this coincided with weakness in the oil and gas extraction sub-industry during December 2017 when the Fortes pipeline was shut down. Meanwhile, an unexpected decline in house building meant the UK construction industry contracted for the ninth month in a row in January. The number of new homes built dropped 9% compared with the previous month, while public building fell 8.9% and construction of commercial property such as offices and shops declined by 3.9%. Office and factory building was also hit as construction output, worsened by the collapse of the Canadian building contractor Carillion, putting at risk 2,500 jobs.

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