China buying more and more in Europe
Long known for its record export sales throughout Europe, new research suggests China is becoming an increasingly important buyer of eurozone goods, replacing Switzerland as the region's third most important customer.
Only the UK and the US bought more eurozone goods in 2010, according to the research carried out by Unicredit bank and the Ifo Institute in Munich, as reported by the Financial Times Deutschland on Tuesday (8 February).
Since 2007, China has been the principle supplier of goods to the eurozone but its role as an important export market is set to increase in 2011, indicate the report's authors.
"The country will probably overtake the USA as the second most important trading partner of the euro area, " said Steffen Elstner, an economist at the Ifo Institute.
Given the ongoing difficulties within the UK economy and solid growth forecasts for China, the Asian powerhouse economy could even take the top spot in 2011.
Machinery, equipment and chemicals dominated the eurozone sales to the Far East, with Germany leading the export charge.
"Above all, the German exports to the Chinese market in 2010 have produced the jump in market share, " said Andreas Rees, an economist at Unicredit.
The new figures highlight China's growing importance to the health of the eurozone economy, at a time when Beijing is also investing in the sovereign bonds of several 'peripheral' members of the single currency club.
Reports suggest China has made important purchases of Greek, Spanish and Portuguese bonds in recent months, helping to alleviate pressure on the debt-ridden economies.
[Source: By Andrew Willis, Eubserver, Brussels, 09Feb11]
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