Hard Brexit to hit Danish bacon, butter exports to Britain: OECD

FILE PHOTO: A traditional full English breakfast is pictured at 'Enough To Feed an Elephant' cafe in London
FILE PHOTO: A traditional full English breakfast of sausages, chips, baked beans, bacon, black pudding and toast is pictured at ‘Enough To Feed an Elephant’ cafe in London May 24, 2012. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/File Photo

January 15, 2019

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The flow of Danish butter and bacon to Britons’ breakfast tables is expected to fall by around a quarter in case of a hard Brexit, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Tuesday.

Denmark’s food exports to Britain, which totaled 11 billion crowns ($1.7 billion) in 2017, are set to drop by around 24 percent should Britain exit the European Union without a deal, leaving goods subject to World Trade Organisation tariffs, the OECD said.

Britain’s parliament is widely expected to vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal on Tuesday, opening up outcomes ranging from a disorderly divorce to a reversal of Brexit.

Britain is Denmark’s fourth largest export market absorbing 7.8 percent of total exports in 2017. Denmark is the main supplier of Britain’s imported pork.

Denmark’s overall exports to Britain could drop by 17 percent in the event of a no-deal Brexit, resulting in a 1.3 percent decline in GDP in the medium term, the OECD said in a country report on Tuesday.

The Danish government said last month that a hard Brexit could reduce the economy as much as 1 percent.

The OECD said it expected Denmark’s economy to grow 1.9 percent this year, slightly above the 1.7 expected by the Danish government, and 1.6 percent next year, in line with the government forecast.

It added that Danish fisheries are “very dependent” on continued access to British waters. Of the total volume of fish unloaded by Danish fishermen in 2012-2016 45 percent came from British waters, a 2017 report showed.

The OECD also said Danish household debt, which is the highest across the 34 OECD countries, is a “source of vulnerability”, even though it is somewhat counterbalanced by large pension savings.

(Reporting by Teis Jensen; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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