UK-EU business flows droop in first quarter – however it is too early to mention if Brexit responsible, says ONS

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Industry flows between Britain and Europe slumped by way of greater than a 5th within the first quarter of the yr, however it’s nonetheless too early to mention how a lot of this was once because of Brexit, the Administrative center for Nationwide Statistics has stated. 

In a record which compiles already-published knowledge on business, the ONS identified that business between the United Kingdom and EU had fallen by way of 20.3% within the first quarter of the yr whilst business with the remainder of the sector dropped by way of best 0.4%.

Whilst this disparity turns out to suggest that Brexit was once the principle clarification – since this era covers the top of the transition length – the ONS stated: “It’s tough to totally detangle the affect the coronavirus and EU go out had on UK and global business whilst they’re nonetheless having a power.”

The container ship Umm Qarn at berth at DP World container terminal at the Port of Southampton. Picture date: Thursday March 4, 2021.
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The pandemic has disrupted world business

Imports of products from EU international locations, apart from treasured metals, fell by way of £14bn, or 21.7%, whilst exports fell by way of £7.1bn or 18.1%, the record confirmed.

The record additionally famous that there were proof of stockpiling of products within the run-up to the top of the Brexit transition length past due final yr, which affected the comparability.

“As such, the decreases observed in quarter 1 2021 must be taken within the context of the will increase observed in quarter 4 2020,” the ONS stated.

In the meantime the record additionally pointed to knowledge appearing that the finishing of the Brexit transition length had, by way of February, overtaken the pandemic as a explanation for demanding situations confronted by way of companies.

Britain reached a last-minute maintain the EU in December to permit tariff-free business with the bloc to proceed.

However companies have reported struggling business friction because of crimson tape and shipping prices.

Extra extensively, global business has been suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic – with border restrictions and disrupted transport patterns taking their toll.

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