GDP and UK trade figures up despite missing expectations

Danni Hewson
13 April 2021

Danni Hewson, AJ Bell financial analyst, comments on today’s GDP and trade figures from the ONS.

“Today’s GDP figures are the equivalent of pubs reopening in the middle of a snowstorm, welcome but chilly.  Growth of 0.4% regains some of January’s lost ground but falls below the 0.6% expected by analysts. Unsurprisingly as lockdown continued, services fared the worst but there was some pick-up in wholesale trade.  There is still lot of ground to make up but yesterday’s packed pub gardens and queues outside high street stores telegraphs that many consumers are more than ready to put months of restrictions behind them and spend, spend, spend.

“There is also small comfort to be had in February’s trade figures.  Exports to the EU which dropped so dramatically off a cliff in January have bungeed back up, though they are still £2bn down on pre-Brexit levels. Notably imports from the EU were less resilient and remain more than £5bn down.  It’s clear there are still issues but many of those will have been exacerbated by lockdown restrictions, something which will undoubtedly continue further into the spring. The big question analysts will be pondering is why EU exporters seemed less able to adapt to new measures than British ones and if that’s got more to do with will than any additional red-tape”

Danni Hewson
Financial Analyst

Danni spent more than 19 years at the BBC, presenting and reporting on business news across a variety of programmes – including BBC Breakfast, BBC News Channel, BBC Look North and latterly Radio 5 Live’s flagship business programme ‘Wake up to Money’. She is now responsible for producing analysis and commentary across a broad range of subjects at AJ Bell, from financial markets, to economics and personal finance.

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