A rise in oil prices and higher imports contributed to a widening of the UK’s goods trade deficit in December.
The gap between exports and imports rose to £13.6bn, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, which was higher than analysts’ forecasts.
Separate ONS data showed industrial output experienced its biggest fall since 2012, largely due to the shutdown of the Forties North Sea pipeline.
Industrial output fell by 1.3% in December from the month before.
However, the ONS said UK’s manufacturing sector, which is part of overall industrial output, saw output rise by 0.3% on the month, marking the eighth consecutive month of growth in the sector – the longest run in almost 30 years.
Further ONS data showed construction output also rose, by 1.6%, in December.
The total trade deficit – which covers goods and services – widened by £1.2bn to £4.9bn between November and December.
Senior ONS statistician Ole Black said: “The headline trade deficit widened in the fourth quarter with the impact of increased oil imports accentuated by rising crude prices.”