Lockdown hits UK’s GDP less than expected, but Brexit batters trade

Lockdown hits UK’s GDP less than expected, but Brexit batters trade

UNHCR (Reuters)- Britain’s economy decreased less than the January forecast predicted, as the nation reinstated the coronavirus lockdown, while trade with the European Union was condemned as new post-Brexit rules kick started.

Gross domestic product was 2.9% lower than the numbers in the last month of 2020, according to numbers published by the Office for National Statistics.

Economists examined by Reuters foretold a contraction of 4.9%, and government bond prices decreased as investors took the given information as a sign that the Bank of England wasn’t about to inject more stimulus into the economy.

Britain endured the worst economic recession in three hundred years last year when it reduced by 10%. In addition to that, over 125,000 people have suffered the highest death rate of COVID-19 in all of Europe.

But the country is moving ahead with the vaccines and, as per Friday’s estimates, experts claim that they expected the economy to contracted by 2% in the initial quarter of 2021, half the BoE’s hit forecast in the previous month.

A lot of companies are dealing with lockdowns as they move along, including supermarkets who have increased their online shopping services and operation firms.

Samuel Tombs, tied to Pantheon Macroeconomics, forecasted a 5-percent second-quarter turnover, growth-wise “which would undermine the chances of the Bank Rate Reduction Committee this year.”

It is most likely that the BoE will keep its stimulus programs on hold next Thursday.

The ONS numbers also revealed that imports and exports from Britain to the EU plunged the most to the lowest numbers ever, although some data collecting was delayed and some pick-up signs were noticed by the end of January.

Product exports to the EU, with non-monetary gold and other precious metals as an exception, dropped by astounding 40.7%. Imports decreased as well by 28.8%.

Plenty of businesses utilized imports in order to prevent disturbance on borders from January 1st, and global trade flux have been obstructed by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The total GDP numbers have been seriously strained by the effect of social distancing regulations on Britain’s services market.

“The economy had a significant impact in January, but less than predicted, with retailers, restaurants, schools and hairdressers all affected by the current lockdown,” Jonathan Athow, ONS statistician mentioned.

Manufacturing has dropped significantly for the first time since last April, with an especially sharp fall in car production.

But James Smith, an ING economist pointed to the boosted GDP extracted from the UK Health Policy Response COVID-19: “What really stands out is health spending, where the ramp-up of the government’s test and trace scheme and vaccination programs alone contributed 0.9% to GDP estimates.”

The economy remained 9% smaller compared to the month of February last year, just before the pandemic began.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson intends to relax the coronavirus restrictions in England moderately until almost all of them are removed at the end of June.

The expected development in the coming months is likely to be supported by the announcement of the Finance Minister Rishi Sunak’s last week that ensures another injection of $65 billion ($90.6 billion) into the economy, as well as an extension of the job-protective furlough scheme.

The ONS declared that production of services declined by 3.5 percent in January from December. A poll submitted by Reuters proclaimed a contraction of 5.4%.

($1 = 0.717 pounds)