he UK's goods trade gap with the rest of the world widened by £1.9bn to a record high of £125bn in 2015, official figures show. The Office for National Statistics also warned the latest figures would have a negative impact on its second estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth.The overall deficit - the difference between the amount the UK imports and what it exports - stood at £34.7bn in 2015. It will publish its second estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth on 25 February.
Britain is very good at exporting services - financial, tourism, creative and legal - where the UK's trade surplus hit a record £90.3bn. But it is notoriously bad at increasing the exports of goods as the UK struggles to rebalance its economy away from consumer consumption towards manufacturing. The strength of the pound for most of last year is only exacerbating Britain's difficulty selling abroad.
A large part of the fall was however accounted for by depressed oil prices, which meant the cost of oil imports fell in value terms to their lowest level since February 2009. In the three months to the end of December, the UK's trade deficit stood at £10.4bn, compared with £8.6bn in the three months to the end of September.
Chancellor George Osborne has warned that the economy is facing a "dangerous cocktail" of risks in 2016, ranging from slowing global economic growth to volatile stock markets and the continuing slump in oil prices.
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15:00 - USD- US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies to Congress