UK exports to EU plummet as Brexit disruption shakes up trade


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The UK’s trade with the European Union deteriorated in the first month since the Brexit split, suggesting that trade relations between the two economies will suffer more than the British government announced.

UK goods exports to the EU fell nearly 41% in January from the previous month, while the bloc’s imports fell 29%, data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday. The most affected EU imports were machinery and transport equipment, especially cars, and medicinal and pharmaceutical products.

Importers on both sides of the canal built up inventories ahead of the January 1 split, leading to less cross-border cargo shipped by air, sea and rail and largely avoided the lengthy traffic jams many critics had predicted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had insisted on any friction suggested by more high-frequency data has simply been “initial problems ”, but evidence from statistical agencies in Germany, France and Italy indicated that there was a sharp drop in shipments from the EU to Britain in the first month after the transition period ended.

‘Accumulation effects’

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