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EU goods trade with China stable in 2020 to date amidst general drop

Goods trade data collected by the European Union’s statistical agency reveal dramatic declines in 2020 so far as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January to October 2020, extra-EU exports of goods fell to €1 579.4 bn, Eurostat finds.  That is “a decrease of 11.3% compared with January-October 2019″.

Imports fell even more than EU exports, amounting to €1 417.2 bn in January to October this year, representing “a decrease of 13.0% compared with January-October 2019″.

The decrease in EU trade is largely due to a massive reduction of imports of energy, mostly from Russia and Norway, in the first ten months of this year: these fell by 38.9%. The EU’s own energy exports (e.g. gas and electricity to neighbouring countries) were also strongly affected, falling by 39.2%.

The machinery and auto sector – key to EU trade – saw exports outside the bloc fall more than imports. Imports of machinery and vehicles fell by 10.5% from January to October this year, whereas exports fell by 15.4%. ‘Other manufactured product’ exports fell by 13.3%, whereas imports fell by 7.9%.

China keeping the trade afloat

EU imports from China grew by 3.4% over the first ten months of 2020, whereas imports from a partner such as Japan with which the EU recently inked a trade agreement dropped by a whopping 15%.

EU exports to China were for their part stable, falling only by 0.1% this year, whereas they fell by 13% to Japan.

EU exports to the United States fell by 10.2%, whereas imports fell by 13%. The equivalent trade data for EU-UK trade is 17.5% and 15.9%.

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