The growth in the trade deficit in January was not expected, a manufacturers' organisation has said.
EEF observed that the decline in exports in the first month of 2010 was a surprising development.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed that the deficit on goods in January stood at £8 billion, up from the £7 billion recorded for December 2009.
In addition, the data showed that the value of exports fell by 6.7 per cent in January compared to the previous month.
Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF, said: "January's decline in exports is surprising given the raft of other survey data since the beginning of the year which point to a more upbeat assessment of export orders
"Despite the blip at the beginning of the year, the underlying trajectory is one of growth and the continued recovery in the world economy and weaker sterling exchange rate should underpin this in the months to come."