📊 How does this link to other official data?
The latest trade stats reveal what manufacturers were doing just before import controls began last month. According to the ONS, imports from non-EU countries continues to grow (£0.6bn), driven mainly by expensive fuels, whilst exports to the EU also increased (£1bn) suggesting businesses on this side of the shore were unlikely stockpiling towards the end of last year.
However, the same can’t be said for EU manufacturers who may have been building stocks in anticipation of increased difficulties when exporting to the UK. We’ll have to wait and see next month how these figures develop.
🤔 In other
UK GDP has now reached almost exactly its pre-pandemic level last seen in February 2020. Granted this required us to lose some GDP (around 0.2%) first, but let’s not focus on that…
Besides, much of this decline was expected given Omicron restrictions were in effect leaving most of the UK to celebrate a relatively quiet Christmas. With the cost of living rising fast, it seems reasonable that consumers are keeping their pockets closed off in the meantime and even with restrictions ending it’s unlikely households will jump at the chance to return to their shopping habits.