LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s trade performance is increasingly lagging behind other similar economies, according to data which suggests Brexit has had a damaging effect on exports, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Britain is the only advanced economy in the Group of Seven to have failed to recover the level of goods exports seen at the end of 2018, according to official data released by each country, including UK data on Friday.
UK goods exports in October were 5.1% below their level at the end of 2018 – the last year of relatively normal trade flows unaffected by stockpiling ahead of various Brexit deal deadlines.
The second-worst performing country, France, recorded exports of goods in October that were 1.6% higher than their level at the end of 2018. The best performing country, the United States, posted growth of 16.6% comparable.
(For the chart, UK goods exports lag behind other G7 countries: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/xmvjonjbrpr/Pasted%20image%201639146093708.png)
The UK Chambers of Commerce, an employers’ group, saw a warning sign in the latest figures.
“Although the data is a one-month snapshot, it fuels a detectable trend of stabilization in the recent improvement in UK-EU merchandise trade after a very difficult start to 2021,” said William Bain. , responsible for commercial policy at the BCC. .
UK goods exports to the European Union in October, excluding precious metals, were 8% below their 2018 level, data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday.
Exports of goods excluding precious metals to non-EU countries were 2% below their average in 2018.
Brexit supporters say Britain will, in the long run, be better able to tap into faster growing markets than when it was in the EU. Many economists are skeptical that this will make up for lost trade with the bloc.
Other trade indicators also pointed to a level of weakness unique to Britain.
IHS Markit monthly surveys of manufacturers around the world showed that only UK factories reported lower export orders in November and October, out of more than a dozen developed markets in the survey.
(For manufacturing export orders chart: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/polling/myvmnajbapr/Pasted%20image%201639146201872.png )
“UK manufacturers have reported weaker demand from China, disruption of trade with EU countries – partly due to Brexit complications – and the cancellation of some orders due to long delays,” he said. said IHS Markit.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Alison Williams)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.