Britain Racks Up Record Trade Deficit In 2005

Britain recorded its biggest ever annual deficit for trade in goods in 2005, official figures showed on Feb. 9. The National Statistics data office said that the deficit for trade in goods rose to a record 65.5 billion pounds (US$ 113.9 billion) last year from the previous annual high of 60.4 billion in 2004.

The 2005 deficit was equivalent to 5.4% of British gross domestic product -- the highest proportion since 1974 when it stood at 6.3% of GDP.

National Statistics said that the total deficit for goods and services also struck a new all-time annual high of 47.6 billion pounds, up from the previous high of 39.0 billion in 2004.

Investec economist Philip Shaw added that "it is perplexing why the UK's trade record has been so bad... given that U.S. growth has been strong and we have seen an upturn in the eurozone economy".

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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