The UK economy contracted in January as a result of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Brexit also had a negative effect. However, the decline was much less marked than the average economists had expected.
British Gross Domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.9%, while there had been a 1.2% increase in December. Economists expected a fall of almost 5 percent.
The decline was largely due to the service sector, which was hit by a new British lockdown. However, the industry also declined for the first time since April, partly as a result of Brexit. Both imports from and exports to the European Union were falling rapidly, the Office for National Statistics said.
Exports from the UK to the EU in January were 41% lower than a month earlier. The value of those goods was £ 5.6 billion lower at the beginning of this year, or about € 6.5 billion. This decrease is probably partly due to additional stocks at the end of last year and partly due to additional red tape and costs of trade with the EU. The statistical office is already seeing an increase in trade with mainland Europe.