Britain's trade deficit has widened in the first quarter of this year by the greatest amount since 2008, signaling the slowdown in world demand is weighing on the UK’s economy. The deficit during the first quarter of this year has widened by 1.068 billion pounds since the previous quarter. In addition, the deficit in goods widened to its peak since comparable records began in 1998 at 34.694 billion pounds.
British economic growth slowed to a quarterly rate of 0.4 percent in the first three months of the year, down from a previous figure of 0.6 in the quarter before - however lower oil prices tend to reduce Britain's trade deficit as the UK is a net importer. China's slowdown has had a considerable impact on global trade since mid-last year, and Markit's survey of British manufacturers has shown lower export orders every month so far this year – this being the longest run of falls in three years. Compounding this, Britain's large current account deficit hit a record 7.0 percent of the economy in late 2015, which the Bank of England has said could leave Britain vulnerable if the UK votes to leave the EU on June 23.
Germany's trade surplus hit an all-time high in March as its exports surged, according data published by the federal statistics office. Exports grew 1.9% while imports fell 2.3%, pushing the surplus to €23.7bn from €20bn in February. Overall, there will be further concerns that Germany is gaining competitive advantage within the Euro area. Further, the substantial trade surplus and weakness in imports will also make it even more difficult to push the Euro weaker against other key global currencies.
09:30 – GBP: Manufacturing production month on month expected to rise 0.4%