The country's goods trade deficit with the rest of the world narrowed more than expected in November, after the country's deficit with non-EU countries fell to its lowest since late 2005, official data showed on Tuesday.
The Office for National Statistics said that Britain's global goods trade gap narrowed to 6.784 billion pounds in November from 7.016 billion pounds in October, after imports dropped 0.8 percent over the month while exports rose 0.1 percent.
Economists had forecast a deficit of 7.0 billion pounds.
The global figure masked a difference in trends between Britain's trade with the European Union and non-EU countries.
The goods trade gap with the EU — the nation's biggest trading partner — was its largest since January 2008 at 3.752 billion pounds, while that with non-EU countries was its narrowest since November 2005 at 3.032 billion pounds. Analysts had forecast a deficit of 3.4 billion pounds.
The data showed that one factor in the widening of the EU trade gap was higher car imports from the EU as a result of the government's car scrappage incentives.
For non-EU countries, an increase in British exports of consumer goods and chemicals, and a corresponding fall in Britain's imports of these goods, lay behind much of the narrowing in the trade gap.
The ONS said that HM Revenue and Customs would publish revisions to historical overseas trade data on Jan. 19, due to errors in traders' original declarations.
In past years, the country's trade data has been noticeably distorted by cross-border value-added tax fraud.
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