Rebuttal: Why Brexit didn’t cause a 68% Drop in Exports to the EU

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Sensationalist statistics are not only misleading, but actively pernicious.

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Why Brexit didn’t cause a 68% Drop in Exports

This Sunday saw the Guardian publish a sensationalist piece about declining exports.  In it, it claimed that Brexit had caused ‘fury at Gove’ due to Brexit-related 68% drop in exports.  Yet such claims need to be taken with a sizeable pinch of salt.  For one thing, the article cited compares this January’s exports with the previous January’s: hardly a fair comparison given the COVID effect on the world economy between 2020 and 2021.  It also ignores the fact that EU manufacturers stocked up on British goods in anticipation of disruption last month, and trade has only begun to pick up as they run down their stockpiles.

Moreover, the figure of a 68% decrease is highly questionable: the Road Hauliers’ Association hasn’t explained how it’s come up with it.  It may well represent the month’s lowest point, of a 61% fall in the first few days after Brexit, rather than the complete monthly average of a 29% decrease in traffic.  It’s a particularly cynical ploy because the official trade statistics probably won’t be published until mid-March, by which time the issue will have been safely forgotten.  In all, it’s a regrettable indication of how far Remain-leaning outlets are willing to embrace dubious statistics and sensationalism in order to maintain a (commercially profitable) climate of Brexit hysteria.

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Briefings For Britain