Trade and manufacturing figures show challenges persist

10th October 2013

· Manufacturing output in August 2013 was -1.

2% on the month, -0.2% on the year · In the three months to August 2013, manufacturing output rose by 1.2% compared with the previous three months · The UK deficit on trade in goods and services was £3.3bn in August, compared with a deficit of £3.4bn in July ·There was a deficit of £9.6bn on goods, partly offset by an surplus of £6.3bn on services   Commenting on the production and trade figures for August 2013, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said:   -The figures were disappointing for both trade and production, but monthly figures can be erratic. The more meaningful three-monthly comparisons support our view that the UK economy is on course to record strong growth in the third quarter of 2013. The recovery will be a long and difficult process, and it is expected that there will be occasional setbacks along the way.   -The manufacturing sector is still facing many challenges, but we know from our survey that many firms are enthusiastic, confident, and looking to expand and drive the recovery, as long as there is a supportive environment that fosters enterprise.   -The trade figures continue to demonstrate the importance of diversifying our exports outside the EU. While progress is being made, the pace of rebalancing towards net exports is still inadequate. There is huge untapped potential among British exporters, and the government must do more to help those firms enter new export markets. This will help them to compete on a level-playing field in areas such as trade finance, insurance, and promotion.

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