Britain's trade deficit grew bigger in the second quarter, reaching £11.2bn compared with the previous three months' £7.8bn reported the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as the export market crumbles under the weight of weakening demand for manufactured goods in emerging markets.
Slowing growth in powerhouse non-EU economies such as Indiaand Chinaled to a collapse in new business orders for British exporters, putting Chancellor George Osborne's ambition of bringing the total value of UKexports to £1tn by the end of the decade in serious doubt.
Ongoing crisis in the eurozone also helped depress UK exports.
"Very hard to take anything positive from this data, it's a big downward surprise," Alan Clarke, Scotiabank analyst, said.
"Against the backdrop where our main trading partners, Germanyand continental Europe, are very weak, this is no surprise, and the scope for improvement anytime soon is limited."
In the second quarter the value of UK exports hit £120.1bn, while imports totalled £131.3bn.
Osborne said in his 2012 budget that the export market represents a path to recovery for the UK economy, which slumped to a deeper recession in the three months to June with a -0.7 percent contraction in GDP.
He eyed the rapid-growth countries of Asia as the markets with demand potential worth tapping into, but recent GDP data from two of the biggest - Chinaand India- shows that output expansion is falling.
India's economy grew at its slowest pace for nine years in the first quarter, while China's output growth slowed to a three year low in the three months to June.
The UK's non-EU exports have decreased by £1.7bn - 13.1 per cent - in June on the month before.