The UK economy shrank in January as a result of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Brexit also had a negative effect.
Still, the decline was much less than what economists had generally expected.
The British gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.9 percent, compared to an increase of 1.2 percent in December. Economists had expected a decrease of almost 5 percent.
Much of the decline was due to the services sector, which was hit by a new UK lockdown. However, the industry also fell for the first time since April, partly due to Brexit. Both imports from and exports to the European Union declined sharply, the Office for National Statistics said.
This is probably partly because companies built up extra stocks at the end of last year and partly because of extra bureaucratic red tape and trade costs with the EU. The statistics office has already seen an increase in trade with the European mainland.