It has been reported that in the first month since Brexit (1 January 2021 to February 2021), exports of goods to the European Union fell 40.7%. It is worth noting that the latest United Kingdom (UK) Covid-19 lockdown has also contributed to the decline in trade. It is the biggest monthly decline in in British trade for over 20 years.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have said:
- Goods exports fell by £5.6 billion, and imports fell by £6.6 billion (28.8%).
- Food and live animal exports fell 63.6% in January.
- Fish and shellfish exports fell 83% from the level it was one year ago.
However, it is worth noting that food and live animal exports only account for 7% of the total UK exports.
The ONS stated that January’s performance was the worst since records began inn 1997. The gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen 2.9% since December.
However, the ONS have said that there were signs trade was increasing by the end of January. Companies also stockpiled before Brexit came into effect which would have contributed to the decline.
Lord Frost (the prime ministers former chief negotiator) stated there was a “unique combination of factors” making it “inevitable that we would see some unusual figures this January”.