Economics: Imports rebounded in February

Date : 15 April 2021

UK food and drink imports from the EU fell sharply in January 2021, following UK exit from the EU. Latest data from ONS shows that imports picked-up somewhat in February, but they remain well below the pre-exit level, with meat being especially affected.

This is likely to be due to a combination of bad weather in the English Channel, disruption due to Coronavirus and trader reluctance to engages with new border procedures (especially on the outbound UK – EU leg).

In spite of this, IGD has found little evidence of widespread food shortages in UK stores in early 2021. This may be because businesses built-up precautionary stocks over November and December 2020.

Exports to the EU have also bounced back in February but, again, they remain below the usual level. This may be because reduced import movements mean that there are fewer outbound vehicles available to take loads back to Continental Europe.

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