BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the United States increased in the first four months of 2019 while its deficit with China widened, figures that could further strain global tensions.
The European Union’s surplus with the United States grew to 48.2 billion euros (£43.2 billion) in Jan-Apr 2019 from 46.0 billion euros in the same period of 2018, EU statistics office Eurostat reported on Tuesday.
With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to 62.0 billion from 57.2 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 deficit of the 28-nation bloc increased to 21.7 billion euros in Jan-Apr 2019 from 10.3 billion a year earlier.
Energy imports were the chief cause of the deficit, especially from Russia and Norway.
For the narrower 19-country euro zone, exports grew by 5.2% year-on-year in April and imports by 6.6%, leading to a narrowing of its trade surplus to 15.7 billion euros in April from 17.1 billion a year earlier.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also declined to 15.3 billion euros in April from 18.6 billion in March as exports fell by 2.5% month-on-month and imports declined by 0.9%.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Francesco Guarascio)