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12th Mar 2021

UK Exports to EU plummet by £5.6bn in first month post Brexit

The UK economy shrank by the biggest margin since the start of the pandemic in January 2021, the first month since formally leaving the European Union

Danny Jones

This drop-off comes as the UK economy shrinks by the biggest margin since the first wave of the pandemic

As per the Office for National Statistics, exports of United Kingdom goods to the European Union have dropped off by 40.7 per cent in January. The estimated loss is approximately £5.6 billion, marking the biggest drop in more than 20 years.

The decline comes in the UK’s first month following Brexit, which besides losing European contracts, also entailed increased regulations for shipping in and out across the board. Food products saw the biggest decline in exports, with a 63.6% decrease.

Imports also fell by £8.9 billion – a 21.6% decrease. The key areas in which the drop-off has occurred is believed to be incoming cars, machinery and transport equipment, as well as chemical, pharmaceutical and medicinal products.

These figures are all taken from January’s statistics, a full month after the UK had officially left the European Union. Moreover, the recent tier systems and various Covid restrictions since March have meant that as various shops and businesses were unable to open, the demand for goods dropped off too.

It is worth noting that these various figures do not include “non-monetary gold and other precious metals”. Nevertheless, the total deficit is believed to have gone from around £6.7 billion, to £12.8 billion in the three months.

This was not unexpected following Brexit and the added complications thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the UK government state that “this data does not reflect the overall EU–UK trading relationship post Brexit” and that freight volumes are back to near enough normal.