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Data released today by the European Union reveals that UK exports to the EU fell by a massive 47% in the first two months of the year compared to 2020, while the EU’s exports to the UK also fell by over 20%.

The figures appear to tally with those released recently by the ONS, as they account for a marked rebound in exports from the UK to the EU in February. However, once both months are taken into account, the fall in exports is still as much as 47% compared to the same two months in 2020.

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In its document summarising trade data from January and February 2021, Eurostat also stressed that last month’s rebound in UK-EU exports is still 32% down compared to December’s total, when the UK was still part of the single market:

With respect to imports from the United Kingdom, the recovery was more pronounced than with respect to exports, with an increase close to 60% in February 2021. However, also imports remained significantly below the level observed in December 2020 (-32%).

In addition, the data shows the UK’s trade deficit with the European Union was 4.6 billion euros more in January and February 2021 than it was in the same two months in 2020.

Overall, Eurostat’s first estimate for euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world in February 2021 was €178.6 billion, a decrease of 5.5% compared with February 2020 (€188.9 billion).

Imports from the rest of the world stood at €161.0 billion, a fall of 2.7% compared with February 2020 (€165.4 billion).

As a result, the euro area recorded a €17.7 billion surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in February 2021, compared with +€23.4 bn in February 2020. Intra-euro area trade rose to €164.8 bn in February 2021, up by 1.7% compared with February 2020.


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