German overseas\' exports more than offset a sharp drop in demand from debt-stricken eurozone countries in the first half of 2012. Strong demand from the US, China and Russia helped Germany stave off a recession. German exports posted a solid gain between January and June, rising by 4.8 percent to a total volume of 550.5 billion euros ($690.8 billion), according to data released by the German Statistics Office Thursday. But while exports by Europe\'s biggest economy to nations outside the European Union surged by 11.1 percent, they grew only a meager 0.7 percent in relation to the 27-nation bloc. Germany\'s key European trading partners took in exports worth 319.1 billion euros in the first half of 2012. By comparison, German goods and services shipped overseas grew to 231.4 billion euros, increasing the share of so-called non-EU states in the country\'s overall export volume to 42 percent, compared with 39.7 percent in the same period a year ago. Demand from the crisis-hit eurozone even dropped, as the 17 nations comprising the currency area bought 1.2 percent fewer German products at a total value of 211.6 billion euros. This included a 14.3 percent drop in exports to Portugal, and a decline of 9.2 percent for Greece. German exports to Italy and Spain also fell by 8.2 percent and 9.4 percent respectively. The decline was compensated by robust demand for German goods from countries such as the United States, China, Russia and Japan. Exports to the US rose 18.6 percent, while China imported 8.6 percent more from Germany. Deliveries to Japan jumped a staggering 19.9 percent, as exports to Russia grew 14.8 percent. Economists said Germany\'s ongoing export boom had helped the country avoid the type of recession that had been holding many of its fellow eurozone members in a tight grip since the beginning of the year.