Business leaders in the West Midlands have welcomed figures that say the trade deficit has closed slightly.

The difference between imports and exports dropped from £2.8bn in December to £2.4bn in January 2013.

The news has been cautiously welcomed by Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, who believes more work needs to be done.

She said: “We know that we have to rebalance the economy and get more companies exporting.

“On this patch, we launched an Exporting is Good for Coventry and Warwickshire alongside partners at the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) team for our region.

“The key is to continually push that message out there to firms of all sizes and sectors that exporting is possible, brings a host of benefits to a business and is not as daunting as it may seem at first.

“We have excellent links with UKTI in the West Midlands and that results in many businesses across the region trading overseas.

“The latest figures on the trade deficit are encouraging but we all know that more work needs to be done to close the gap even further.”

?Birmingham Post Business Blog -  UKTI's Paul Noon on making a start in exports