Exports from the UK to the EU rose by £3.7 billion (46.6%) in February compared to the month before, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This came after a record fall in British exports to the EU of -42%, or £5.7bn, after disruption to the regular flow of trade caused by post-Brexit rule changes and COVID-induced restrictions and delays.

Increases in machinery and transport equipment, and chemicals, boosted exports to the EU by £1.3bn and £0.9bn respectively.

Imports from the EU, excluding non-monetary gold and other precious metals, also increased by a weaker 7.3%, or £1.2bn in February after a record collapse of -29.7%, or £6.7bn, in January.

The boost in exports of chemicals was driven specifically by Belgium's rising demands for medicinal and pharmaceutical products after significant rises in European COVID-19 cases throughout February.

Exports to non-EU countries fell by £1.5bn (-10.5%) in the same period, however, while imports increased by £1.7bn (10.2%) compared to January.

In all, the total trade deficit for February 2021 also widened by £0.5bn to £1.4bn.

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