The UK's trade deficit widened by more than anticipated in February, as the gap reached the biggest recorded in seven months, according to official figures.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that the UK's goods and services trade deficit, which is measured by the country's imports exceeding its exports, deteriorated to £2.86bn ($4.24bn, €3.94bn) – up from £1.54bn the month before.
The deficit in goods rose slightly to £10.34bn in February on a monthly basis, but a surplus of £7.5bn on services helped to offset much of the damage.
Good exports on the other hand hit the lowest that they have been in five years as they totalled £23.16bn.
In the three months leading to February 2015, the goods deficit between the UK and other EU countries reached a record high of £21.1bn.
David Kern, chief economist of the British Chambers of Commerce, remained relatively optimistic however: "It is disappointing that the trade deficit almost doubled between January and February, but last month's deficit was unusually small and taking the past three months together presents a relatively better position.
"Unless we see firm action to improve our export performance, it is not clear how we will sustain strong growth in the long-term. The UK's trade deficit with the EU reached a record high in the last three months, and while the EU is our largest trading partner, it is vital that we capture more of the export market in the fast growing economies beyond Europe."