EU goods trade gaps with US and China widen

The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the US and its deficit with China both increased in the first five months of 2019, figures that could add extra strain to global tensions.

The European Union’s surplus with the US grew to €62.1 billion in the months from January to May from €55.4 billion the same time last year, EU statistics office Eurostat said today.

With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to €76.7 billion from €69.2 billion.

The US has hit the European Union with tariffs and threatened more in complaint over the trade balance. Both Washington and Brussels have also complained that China wants free trade without playing fair.

Overall, the goods trade deficit of the 28-nation bloc widened to €14.2 billion in the five month period from €9.9 billion a year earlier.

Energy imports, notably from Russia and Norway, were the chief cause of the deficit.

For the narrower 19-country euro zone, exports grew by 7.1% year-on-year in May and imports by 4.2%, leading to a widening of its trade surplus to €23 billion in May from €16.9 billion a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also increased to €20.2 billion in May from €15.7 billion in April as exports rose by 1.4% month-on-month and imports declined by 1%.

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