U.K.’s Trade With Europe Remains Below 2020 Levels, Sixfold Says

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Britain’s trade with the rest of Europe remains below levels prevailing a year ago, according to high-frequency data from the consultant Sixfold.

The average weekly volumes of border crossings for both imports and exports were down about a fifth from the same period a year ago, according to the unit of the logistics platform Transporeon. Its Chief Executive Officer Stephan Sieber said it’s too early to tell how much of a structural shift has appeared due to Brexit and that more friction is coming end of March and over the Easter holiday.

“Due to the new virus strains and waves, the pandemic and related restrictions are not a linear event,” Sieber said in an interview.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s has described lower trade as temporary “teething problems” that are already passing. Figures from the Office for National Statistics on Friday revealed a 41% plunge in exports to the European Union from December to January and a 29% drop in imports. His officials attributed these trends to stockpiling, Covid-19 lockdowns and the residual effects of the pre-Christmas chaos at the port of Dover.

U.K.’s Trade With Europe Remains Below 2020 Levels, Sixfold Says

Transporeon also said:

  • The rate at which cargo haulers were rejecting shipments due to move from France to the U.K. fell last week. It’s still 44% higher than the third-quarter average. Sieber said this was unlikely to have been influenced by political and legal tensions between London and Brussels.
  • Transport demand for moving goods from France to the U.K. also dropped slightly last week.
  • Rejections rose on the Italy-to-U.K. route.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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