The European Union foreign trade balance posted a deficit of €4.1 billion ($4.96 billion) in the first seven months of 2018, according to the EU's statistical office on Friday.
This January to July, the EU’s exports of goods totaled some €1.127 trillion ($1.363 trillion) with an annual hike of 3.6 percent, and the 28-member bloc's imports from the rest of the world amounted to nearly €1.131 trillion ($1.368 trillion), up 4.5 percent on a yearly basis.
"As a result, the EU28 recorded a deficit of €4.1 billion, compared with a surplus of €6.3 billion in January-July 2017," Eurostat said.
"Intra-EU28 trade rose to €2.05 trillion in January-July 2018, plus 5.6 percent compared with January-July 2017," the statistical office added.
One euro was exchanged for $1.21 on average in the January-July period in 2018, while the average EUR/USD exchange rate was around 1.09 in the same period last year.
Eurostat data revealed that exports to the U.S. -- €232.2 billion ($280.9 billion) -- accounted for 20.6 percent of the EU's total exports in the seven-month period, making the U.S. top export market for the bloc.
In the list of the EU’s major export markets, China, Switzerland, Russia, and Turkey followed the U.S.
Over the same period, China became the number one import source for the EU with €217 billion ($262.6 billion) or 19.2 percent of total imports -- by the U.S., Russia, Switzerland, and Norway.
The country-to-country figures showed that the EU posted the largest trade surplus with the U.S. -- €79.3 billion ($95.9 billion) -- and the highest trade deficit with China -- €98.4 billion ($119 billion) -- this January to July.