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UK becomes smaller international trader since Brexit

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The UK has seen its global international trade activity fall since Brexit, despite aims to become ‘global Britain’. 

Data from the Bank of England shows how trade flows, imports plus exports, as a percentage of GDP has fallen for the UK, whilst they have continued to rise for EU main countries including Germany, France and Spain.

The data was released as part of the Bank of England’s recent speech by Michael Saunders reporting on the outlook for inflation and monetary policy.

In a wide-ranging speech, Saunders noted how the UK economy has become less globalised ‘with effects from the pandemic exacerbated by Brexit’. 

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For example, trade flows compared to 2019 have fallen by more than any other G7 country, whilst Q3 trade flows this year has a share of GDP were the lowest for 12 years. 

The UK labour market has also become less global with the number of EU nationals working in the UK dropped markedly, contributing to worker shortages in haulage, farming and care industries to name a few. 

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