UK trade ship
A decline in ship imports caused the trade deficit to narrow as exports flatlinedReuters

The value of goods imported to the UK decreased by £1.4bn (€1.94bn, $2.17bn) in May 2015 to its lowest level since June 2013, causing the UK's goods and services trade deficit to narrow to £400m, the Office for National Statistics reported on 10 July.

Down from a £1.8bn trade deficit in April, May's figures were due to a decrease in ship imports. The goods deficit was £8bn, while the UK's services surplus was at £7.6bn.

IHS Global Insight chief economist Archer Howard expressed mixed feelings as the positive news on the trade deficit came with a 1.3% month-on-month dip in construction output, according to the ONS.

"While May's sharply reduced trade deficit is very welcome, it is disappointing that it was due to a marked 3.2% fall in total imports while exports were only flat," said Howard.

The goods and services trade deficit decreased by £1.4bn in the three months to May compared to the quarter to February 2015.

The ONS also pointed out that export to non-EU countries rose by £1.7bn and export of chemicals reached a record high of £7.3bn.

"It looks like net trade could have made a positive contribution to second quarter GDP growth after being a major drag in the first quarter" Archer said. "In value terms, total exports of goods and services were up 0.4% in the three months to May compared to the three months to February, while total imports were down by 0.7%."