The UK trade deficit narrowed in July as exports grew helped by a weaker pound following the country's Brexit vote, according to official data.

Britain's deficit in goods and services shrank to £4.5bn from £5.6bn in June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

During July trade was driven by exports jumping by £800m, while imports slipped back by £300m.

The plunge in the value of the pound to 31-year lows following country June vote to leave the European Union has made UK goods more competitive on the global market.

The shrinking of the trade deficit will boost hopes that the economy may continue to grow in the third quarter of the year despite earlier fears that Britain was on course to stumble into a recession.

IHS Markit chief European and UK economist Howard Archer said: "The July trade data give a lift to hopes that net trade will make a positive contribute to UK gross domestic product growth in the third quarter and add to evidence of the economy's current resilience."

Archer added: "A major hope for the UK economy going forward is that the substantial overall weakening of the pound since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June's referendum will increasingly feed through to boost foreign demand for UK goods and services."

However, British Chambers of Commerce head of economics Suren Thiru said: "Over the long-term, the UK's trade position will be driven by how successful the government is in delivering the best possible terms of trade for the future, both with the EU and with markets further afield."