Wednesday 30 June 2021 1:49 pm

UK to EU exports rise to near pre-Brexit levels as trade deficit drops

After a catastrophic start to the year, UK exports to the EU have risen to near 2019 levels, before the UK exited the European Union.

In April 2021, EU exports were down around two per cent from the same time two years ago, according to ONS stats, marking a considerably better performance than in January, when EU exports were down 46 per cent from the same time in 2019.

In April, exports to the EU from the UK stood at close to £130bn compared with £132bn in April 2019.

Trade deficit

Exports to the EU and to the rest of the world were down around 14 per cent for January to April compared with the same period in 2019, however as imports were down 21 per cent, the UK’s trade deficit for the first four months of the year dropped from £63bn to £43bn.

A government spokesperson said: “The most recent ONS trade statistics show that for both March and April, overall exports to the EU have exceeded the average levels across 2020.

“However, the impact of the Covid pandemic across Europe has affected trade and depressed demand and it is too early to draw any firm conclusions on the long term impacts of our new trading relationship with the EU.”

Meanwhile, separate ONS figures published today showed the UK’s current account deficit narrowed to £12.7bn in the first quarter of 2021, as the reintroduction of restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus hit the economy and dampened import demand.

Figures from the ONS published today show the balance of payments deficit in quarter one was the equivalent of 2.3 per cent of GDP.