The UK’s trade deficit widened to a record high in January as exports to the European Union plummeted with a surge in red tap after Britain’s exit from the bloc.
- Imports of goods excluding precious metals, which can be volatile, jumped 11% in January due to an increase in shipments from the EU. Exports plunged 8.7%, with sales to the EU down sharply.
- ONS stated that nearly two-thirds of the 21% plunge in exports to the EU was attributable to a change in methodology, implying that some goods sent to the bloc are recorded later and are likely to show up in the Feb. figures.
- Imports of cars increased strongly as a fall in domestic production triggered demand for vehicles from the EU.
A portion of the increase was due to a post-Brexit change in how data on trade with the EU was gathered. Trade with non-EU countries remained largely the same from December.
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Source: Office for National Statistics