UK trade recovering but picture is clouded by Covid and Brexit | Larry Elliott

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Government figures showing a bounceback in February rightly come with a health warning

The government’s monthly trade figures come with a health warning – and rightly so. A combination of Covid-19 and Brexit means it is impossible to draw any firm conclusions about the trend from a single month’s data.

Look at what has happened to the UK’s exports to the EU. These collapsed by a revised record 42% in January but according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics subsequently rose by more than 46% in February.

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