September 13, 2019 / 9:32 AM / 9 days ago

EU goods trade surplus with U.S. and deficit with China widen

FILE PHOTO: Containers and cars are loaded on freight trains at the railroad shunting yard in Maschen near Hamburg September 23, 2012. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the United States and its deficit with China both increased in the first seven months of 2019, figures that could add extra strain to global tensions.

The European Union’s surplus with the United States grew to 90.9 billion euros ($100.8 billion) in Jan-July 2019 from 80.0 billion euros in the same period of 2018, EU statistics office Eurostat reported on Friday.

With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to 109.2 billion from 98.6 billion euros.

The United States 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 balance of the 28-nation bloc slipped to a deficit of 10.2 billion euros in Jan-July 2019 from 2.0 billion euros 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 6.2% year-on-year in July and imports by 2.3%, leading to a widening of its trade surplus to 24.8 billion euros in July from 16.9 billion a year earlier.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also increased to 19.0 billion euros in July from 17.7 billion in June as exports rose by 0.6% month-on-month and imports were stable.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop

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