The trade UK deficit widened to £2.8bn ($3.7bn) in September, from a revised £1.9bn in August, according to ONS figures released on Thursday, as exporters struggled to capitalise on a global bump in demand.
The Brexit factor weighed on numbers, as new border checks, supply chain issues such as queues at ports and a shortage of HGV drivers continued.
The value of goods exports edged up to £26.4bn in September, from £26bn in August, but that still was well below 2019’s average of £31bn.
Exports were also weak in real terms — the volume of goods exports was 16% below its 2019 average.
“Brexit is to blame for the ongoing relative weakness of goods exports. After all, the commodities breakdown shows that food and beverages exports once again were among the worst performing sectors,” said Gabriella Dickens, senior UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Overall, imports of goods to the UK increased by £2.3bn (5.9%) in September 2021, driven by increasing imports from non-EU countries.
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