16. Weekly Newsletter
UK Economic Rebound
UK exports to the EU surged by 46.6% (up £3.7bn) to a total of £11.6bn for the month of February following a disappointing 42% (down £5.7bn) slump in the month previous. However, imports from the EU into the UK only increased by 7.3% (up £1.2bn) for the month but had fallen by a comparatively lower percentage in January. The total trade deficit has also narrowed to £6.3bn in the first 3 months to February 2021 as the value of imports declined by £5.7bn but UK ‘services’ exports have remained at lower levels since Q2 of 2020.
Over the weekend, 20m Britons visited shops and spent near £3bn- whilst also consuming 6m pints across the 50,000 open pubs. Footfall was also up 87.8% week-on-week whilst the BBC labelled this spending as ‘revenge purchases’ following months of shutdown. Despite the substantial rise: demand is still 25% below 2019 levels but is expected to continue rising as public appetite and confidence improves.
Almost 4.4m people in the UK have tested positive for COVID but the current daily increase in cases is now around 2,000. A total of 127,000 deaths have additionally been attributed to the virus but, similarly to the case rate, the daily increase persists in low volumes and frequently dips into single digits. The vaccine rollout has now achieved 33m first doses being administered and 10.2m second doses- resulting in a total of 43.1m successful inoculations. Everyone aged over 50 has now been offered a vaccine and those in their late 40s are the new focus.
The Government is also experiencing a fresh rise in approval ratings as a result of the improving handling of COVID and has had to make tough decisions on matters such as border closures. PM Johnson was set to travel to India next week but due to their infection rate rising (up 270,000 on Sunday) this has had to be cancelled. An objective of the trip was to work on a post-Brexit trade deal but, unfortunately, the UK has now even had to add the historical ally to a travel ‘red list’.
European Super League
On Monday, 19th of April, the announcement of 6 Premier League football clubs joining a new ‘European Super League’ became a new hotbed of national controversy– with even the Government predicted to step in. The UK’s own domestic football league, the Premier League, is the most valuable football market in the world with the top 20 clubs generating £4.8bn in 2019. In pre-COVID times, the Premier League alone would draw in 14.5m in-person attendees per year and football plays a huge part in the UK’s culture. However, the newly proposed league has the backing of JPMorgan Chase and funding equalling £2.7bn which would be the biggest sports financing deal of 2021.
Estimates for each of the 6 UK clubs joining the new continental football league suggest joining payments of up to £300m and then pundits have estimated earnings per match would be multiple times higher due to the lucrative TV rights available. This new market for the world’s most popular sport could allow for a higher quality of performance in football and enables new global audiences to tune in. However, same-day YouGov polling has shown 79% of UK football fans oppose the move (with 68% “strongly opposing”) due to increased costs, smaller clubs being left behind and more costly away matches being played abroad.