The devalued pound gave British exports of goods a long-awaited boost in February, when they rose by £440 million to £18.9 billion, while imports of goods slipped marginally to £26.2 billion.
But the resulting £506?million drop in the deficit was more than offset by a £611?million dip in the surplus from trade in services, whose contribution dipped to £4.07?billion.
That left an overall shortfall of £3.25?billion, after a revised £3.14 billion deficit in January – although that was appreciably short of the £3.6?billion originally estimated.
The improvement in the trade in goods was due entirely to that with countries outside the EU, and National Statistics said that this non-EU trade gap narrowed to £3.96?billion from £5.6?billion in January.
Exports to non-EU countries jumped by 12.8 per cent between the two months, while imports fell by 5.4 per cent.
Over the latest three months, NS said, exports to the US have risen by £436?million, outpacing a £366?million rise in imports from America.
By contrast, trade in both directions with the EU has been falling, with the exception of a £266?million jump in imports from Ireland.
Britain’s trade balance with Germany improved markedly as imports fell by more than £1?billion.