Figures show that the UK’s trade deficit shrank in August, as exports of goods reached a record high.
In August the overall deficit for goods and services was £1.9bn, and in July it had been £2.9bn.
Total exports of goods hit £25.5bn following a 0.6% rise, as imports fell by 0.7% to $33.3bn.
Analysts have suggested that the stronger exports performance may be responsible for the reduction in the deficit for the July to September quarter.
North East figures show that the region exported a record £12.8bn last year, and the latest 12-month figures are still showing exports at a record high.
James Ramsbotham, Chief Executive of the NECC, said: “The August trade figures for the UK show a fall in the overall trade deficit, and are better than expected proving that exports have increased more strongly than imports over the last month, and also on a three-monthly basis.
“The figures are another demonstration that the North East continues to do its bit for UK PLC, leading the country in export performance.
“The recovery in the region is being driven by exports and it is critical to help more businesses take advantage of the opportunities currently available in international markets.”
He added that a small dip in September followed the North East’s two best ever quarterly performances and at £3.11bn represents the region’s third highest quarterly export total.
A spokesperson for the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Trade is at the heart of the Government’s plan for growth, with the Trade & Investment White Paper launched in February setting out actions for all departments to focus support for this.
“Through their new strategy UKTI is targeting high-growth SMEs to encourage them to export and focuses on aiding existing exporters with winning high-value opportunities in overseas markets.
“And we recently saw the first loan paid out under the Export Enterprise Finance Guarantee, one of four trade finance schemes promised as part of the Trade White Paper.
“This will support small business, Norton Motorcycles, to more than double their production levels and we hope to see many more businesses benefit from these schemes in the coming months.”