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Cheaper oil helps narrow trade gap

Britain’s trade deficit fell to a 17-month low in November - helped by cheaper oil - while the manufacturing sector grew at its strongest pace in seven months, official figures showed today. The shortfall between exports and imports narrowed to £1.4 billion from £2.2 billion the previous month, the smallest since June 2013. Manufacturing grew by 0.7%, reversing a contraction of the same size the previous month. It equalled the pace of growth in April and has not been better since last February.