U.K. economy shrank as Brexit deadline disrupted manufacturing
A computer screen shows news about Brexit with British Prime Minister Theresa May as a broker watches his screens at the stock market in Frankfurt, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
LONDON -- Britain's economy got off to a poor start in the second quarter, shrinking by 0.4% in April compared to the previous month, as the country felt the impact of preparing for a now-delayed departure from the EU.
The main drag in the figure reported by the Office for National Statistics was a plunge in manufacturing output. Car production fell 24% as automakers brought forward summer shutdowns to avoid any disruption from the March 31 Brexit, which has been delayed to Oct. 31.
Meanwhile, the Department of International Trade says it has secured a preliminary free trade agreement with South Korea to ensure the companies can keep trading freely after Brexit.
The department says some 99% of British exports to Korea were eligible to be exported tariff free last year.