June 6, 2014 / 8:41 AM / 6 years ago

UK trade deficit seen widening in April - ONS

LONDON, June 6 (Reuters) - Britain’s goods trade deficit was estimated to have widened in April, slowed by weaker chemicals and manufacturing exports, official data showed on Friday.

A woman passes racks of greetings cards displayed in a shop in London March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

The Office for National Statistics said goods trade deficit grew to an estimated 8.924 billion pounds from 8.293 billion pounds in March.

However, the ONS said its figures were an estimate due to an omission in its original calculations which overlooked around 700 million pounds worth of oil exports to the European Union.

The omission was not spotted in time by tax officials to be included in a detailed breakdown of trade figures published by the ONS but revised figures were given to media by the ONS.

Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a trade deficit of 8.65 billion pounds.

Including Britain’s surplus in its trade in services, the overall trade deficit widened to an estimated 1.843 billion pounds from 1.057 billion pounds in March.

Goods exports in the month of April fell by 1.5 percent to 24.107 billion pounds, when the oil omission was taken into account. Imports of goods rose 0.8 percent to just over 33 billion pounds.

Britain’s government has been seeking to help the country’s exporters in order to put the economic recovery on a sounder footing. But its efforts have been hampered by weak demand in the euro zone, home to key trading partners.

Exports to the European Union as a whole rose 1.3 percent to 12.4 billion pounds but the deficit with the bloc widened to 5.141 billion pounds from 4.875 billion in March.

The goods trade deficit with non-EU countries grew to 3.783 billion pounds in April from 3.418 billion pounds in March, against forecasts for a gap of 3.1 billion pounds.

Reporting by William Schomberg and Belinda Goldsmith

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