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EU exports growth to China accelerates despite trade tension

EU exports growth to China accelerates despite trade tension

Bloc sells mainly consumer goods to Beijing, a sector less affected by US-China spat.EU exports to China rose by more than a tenth, dispelling fears of a deceleration prompted by a slowdown in Asia’s largest economy and repercussions of escalating tension between Washington and Beijing over trade.

In the first quarter, the EU exported 11.3 per cent more goods to China compared with the same period a year ago, the fastest increase among the bloc’s major trading partners. In the three months to March 2018, the rate was 1 per cent, the statistics office said.

By contrast, exports from many Asian countries to China declined in the same period, according to their national statistics.

The EU meanwhile exports mainly consumer goods to China, a sector that has been less affected by US-China trade disputes.

“The Chinese import slowdown is more about supply-chain effects than weak domestic demand,” said Adam Slater, economist at Oxford Economics.

Exports to the US rose at an annual 8.2 per cent, while exports to Turkey underperformed with a double-digit decline, as the economy shrank at an annual rate of 3 per cent at the end of last year.

The eurozone’s trade balance however extended a decline as imports growth outpaced that of exports. In the 12 months to March, the eurozone trade balance dropped to €190bn, more than 20 per cent below the level in the same period last year.

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