By Jason Douglas
LONDON--The U.K.'s trade deficit with the rest of the world widened in June, according to official statistics Tuesday, suggesting trade held back growth in the second quarter, ahead of the country's referendum on remaining in the European Union.
The U.K.'s deficit in goods trade widened to GBP12.4 billion ($16.2 billion) in July from GBP11.5 billion in June, as imports rose faster than exports. For the second quarter as a whole, the deficit widened by GBP400 million, compared with the first three months of the year, to GBP23.9 billion.
The deterioration in the U.K.'s trade deficit likely acted as a drag on growth in the second quarter, the ONS said Tuesday. The agency estimated the economy expanded at a quarterly rate of 0.6% between April and June, a stronger pre-referendum performance than many economists had expected. A fresh estimate of second-quarter growth will be published later this month.
The ONS also said Tuesday industrial production rose 0.1% on the month in June, as output from North Sea oil and gas and electricity generation offset a fall in manufacturing.
June's modest rise in production followed faster growth in April and May; output for the second quarter was 2.1% higher than the first, the fastest quarterly growth rate since 1999, the ONS said. That was in line with the estimate for production included in second-quarter growth figures.
Surveys since then have suggested the economy slowed in July, although the British Retail Consortium, a trade group, said Tuesday retail sales rose as shoppers shrugged off Brexit gloom to spend more on food and drink as the weather improved.
Write to Jason Douglas at email@example.com and David Hodari at firstname.lastname@example.org