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Slipping export performance ‘the single most worrying thing’ post-Brexit and pandemic


Britain’s export performance has slipped behind that of other developed nations as the recovery from the pandemic continues. 

According to a report in the Financial Times, sluggish exports have become a ‘worrying trend’ as UK firms struggle to attract overseas markets. 

By August this year, global goods trades rebounded well following the economic slowdown brought about by the pandemic. But whilst export volumes are well above pre-pandemic levels, the UK has struggled to get in on the action with export activity significantly lower than before Covid-19 hit. 

In the three months to August, UK goods exports were down 13% whilst services dropped 14% too, whilst a longer six-year trend also shows UK bottom of a list of the world’s most advanced economies, including Canada, Spain, France and Greece. 

Brexit hasn’t been the only factor either, with trade data showing sluggish activity with non-EU nations with a 20% drop in export activity compared to 2019. 

“Supply disruption associated with both Covid and Brexit has weighed on UK competitiveness in general, not just on trade flows with the EU.”

Benjamin Nabarro, Citi Research

Read more: Cost of post-Brexit trade barriers for UK businesses soars to £2.2bn with economic impact eclipsing pandemic

There are some nuggets of optimism though, with export activity showing strong growth with the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland.

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