Foreign trade balance saw a €24-billion ($26.9-billion) deficit during the first three months of 2019 in the EU, the union’s statistical authority announced on Thursday.
The 28-member bloc’s exports of goods soared by 3.1% to reach €483.6-billion ($541.6-billion) in the first quarter on a yearly basis, Eurostat said.
The EU’s imports from the rest of the world were €507.6 billion ($568.5 billion), up 5.1% versus the first three months of 2018.
In the same period of 2018, the EU foreign trade balance posted a €9.6-billion deficit ($11.8-billion).
Among member states, Germany was the top exporter with €135-billion exports to the rest of the world during the first quarter. Germany was followed by the U.K., France, Italy, and the Netherlands.
The largest trade deficits were seen in the U.K., France, and Spain, with €52.9 billion ($59.2 billion) , €19.6 billion ($21.2 billion), and €9.8 billion ($10.92 billion), respectively.
The intra-EU28 trade grew by 3.9%, to reach nearly €914.3 billion ($1.02 trillion) year-on-year in January-March.
In the January-March period, the U.S. was the top market for EU exporters with €107.3 billion ($120.2 billion) or 22.2% of the bloc’s total exports.
Following the U.S., the EU’s other major export markets were China, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey.
On the imports side, China was the main source for the EU with €102.6 billion ($114.9 billion), accounting for 20.2% of total imports.
The country was followed by the U.S., Russia, Switzerland, Turkey.
In the same period, the bloc’s trade balance saw its largest deficit with China — €49.4 billion ($55.3 billion) — and the biggest surplus with the U.S., with €33.9 billion ($37.97 billion).
The union also posted a trade deficit of €2.8 billion ($3.13 billion) with Turkey in the three-month period.
The Euro/U.S. dollar exchange rate was 1.12 as of the end of March 2019 and 1.23 as of the end of March 2018.