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1697 - the year in which St Paul’s Cathedral was opened in London, the Royal African Company lost its monopoly on the slave trade and the year of birth for Canaletto the Italian artist.

If we are to trust the accuracy of trade data stretching back over three hundred years, the UK has just recorded its biggest ever monthly deficit in trade in goods. July’s deficit with the rest of the world has been revised upwards to £8.238bn - the biggest gap since records began in 1697 - reported here in the Guardian. Despite the competitive boost given by a depreciating currency, weakening demand in many of the UK’s major export markets is providing an important dampener on the ability of export businesses to provide a rebalancing of aggegate demand in the UK. Imports are also falling as the national belt is collectively tightened.

The annual trade deficit in goods last year came in at a touch below £90 billion. What price an annual trade and a budget deficit that both exceed £100 billion in 2009 or 2010?

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