In the QAD Precision News Round-Up: 19 March 2021, UK imports to
Ireland fall 65%; EU begins legal action against UK; global economic
growth looks up; turmoil in UK retail sector; US e-commerce to reach
$1 trillion by 2022; plus simplifying post-Brexit trade and more.
Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) has reported a sharp
decline in imports from the UK. Imports to Ireland fell by 65 percent
– from €1.4 billion to €497 million – in January compared to the
same period last year. Furthermore, exports from Ireland to the UK
declined by 14 percent to €946 million in January.
According to the CSO, a combination of factors contributed to the
fall in imports from the UK, including the challenges of complying
with customs requirements. Additional factors included the stockpiling
of goods in the last quarter of 2020 in preparation for Brexit,
substitution with goods from other countries and a reduction in
volumes of trade in January due to coronavirus restrictions For more
information, please see RTE.
On Monday, the EU formally launched legal action against the UK over
the Northern Ireland Protocol. European Commission Vice President
Maroš Šefčovič said in a letter to the UK that its decision to delay
implementing a key part of the Brexit deal relating to Northern
Ireland breaches international law.
In February, the UK said it would temporarily waive rules due to
begin on April 1. These regulations required businesses sending food
between Great Britain and Northern Ireland to provide additional
customs paperwork. The European Commission warned this decision
violated the terms of the Protocol. This would ultimately lead to the
EU imposing financial penalties or trade tariffs on the UK.
Additionally, the UK plans similar delays in other areas such as
parcel checks. For more details, please see Bloomberg.
On Thursday, a report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development
(UNCTAD) predicted the global economy to grow by 4.7 percent this
year. This is as a result of a stronger than expected recovery in the
US. The upwards revision from its previous forecast of 4.3 percent
last September factors in an expected increase in consumer spending in
Furthermore, the OECD revised its growth forecast for this year to
5.6 percent from 4.2 percent. However, according to UNCTAD, Covid-19
will have a lasting impact on the economy. Furthermore, its report
estimates that there was a 3.9 percent drop in output last year due to
the pandemic. For more information, please see Reuters.
In 2020, the UK lost over 17,500 chain store outlets as the
coronavirus pandemic caused the worst decline since records began.
According to the figures from the research provider Local Data Company
(LDC), an average of 48 shops, restaurants and other leisure and
hospitality venues permanently shut everyday across Great Britain and
only 21 opened again.
Approximately 17,532 outlets closed their doors in 2020, while only
7,655 chain stores opened. The resulting net closure of 9,877 stores
was almost a third higher than in 2019. Major stores affected by
permanent closures include the entire Debenhams chain, John Lewis
outlets, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins. For more details, please see The
In the three months to February, sales at retail giant H&M
declined by less than expected. On Monday, H&M said that net sales
fell 27 percent from a year earlier. Analysts had predicted a 30
percent decline in net sales for the period. Furthermore, sales in the
first half of March were up 10 percent.
As of March 13, 900 of H&M’s approximately 5,000 stores remained
closed due to coronavirus lockdowns. For more information, please see
This week, a report from Adobe’s e-commerce division found that the
Covid-19 pandemic boosted online shopping by $183 billion in the US.
The report covers the rise in e-commerce from March 2020 to February
2021. During this period, US consumers spent a total of $844 billion
online. Consumers spent $813 billion in 2020 alone, up 42 percent on
the previous year.
For the first two months of 2021, consumer spending in the US hit
$121 billion, a 34 percent year-over-year increase. Adobe predicts
growth rates to continue, leading to 2021 sales of between $850
billion and $930 billion. It expects US e-commerce to reach $1
trillion in 2022. For more details, please see TechCrunch.
FIVE WAYS TO SIMPLIFY POST-BREXIT UK/EU TRADE
Reports in recent weeks suggest that post-Brexit trading
relationships between companies in the United Kingdom and the European
Union have not been frictionless.
Last week, a
report in The Guardian claimed that three-quarters of
British manufacturers are experiencing delays since the UK decided to
leave the EU. Added to this is the ongoing disruption due to the
coronavirus pandemic. In addition to delays, over half of the
companies surveyed had experienced increased costs despite the UK EU
trade deal. Furthermore, more than a third stated that they had lost sales.
Figures from Germany
show the stark impact of Brexit. Germany’s federal
statistics office, Destatis, found that German exports to the UK have
fallen 29 percent since the start of the year. Additionally, imports
from the UK to Germany have plunged more than 56 percent.
Brexit has created a number of challenges for importers and
exporters. In this QAD Precision Report, we look at five ways to
simplify trade between the UK and EU. To read the full report, please
On Thursday 25 March 2021 at 3pm GMT /10am EST, QAD Precision is
hosting a 30-minute webinar on the importance of restricted party
screening. To register for the webinar, please click here.