UPDATE 1-Vuitton owner LVMH posts rise in first half profits

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PARIS, July 24 (Reuters) - Louis Vuitton owner LVMH on Tuesday posted robust results for the first half of the year, adding to signs that demand for luxury goods has so far largely weathered a U.S-Chinese trade dispute.

The French firm, whose brands also include fashion label Fendi and Krug champagne, said its profit from recurring operations rose 28 percent in the first six months of 2018 to 4.65 billion euros ($5.43 billion), beating expectations.

LVMH has ridden a luxury industry revival over the past two years driven by growing demand from young, middle class Chinese shoppers. Rivals like Paris-based conglomerate Kering, owner of Gucci, have also benefited.

An escalating trade spat between Washington and Beijing has raised fears of a trickle-down effect on China's economy and on luxury purchases, though consumers' appetite for branded goods has shown few signs of diminishing drastically.

France's Hermes, known for its luxury leather handbags, last week said Chinese demand had remained solid, a trend also noted by British trench coat maker Burberry.

Across the LVMH group sales growth in Asia, excluding Japan, came in at 15 percent in the second quarter on a like-for-like basis, which strips out currency swings, down from 21 percent in the first quarter.

Yet it posted a broadly steady performance in its central fashion and leather goods unit.

Without accounting effects due to the integration of German luggage maker Rimowa, like-for-like revenue growth in the division would have been in line with the first quarter rise of 16 percent, rather than 13 percent, LVMH said.

The unit is home to Vuitton, which along with independent Chanel ranks as one of the world's biggest luxury brands, and others labels like Givenchy, the couture house behind the wedding dress Meghan Markle wore for her marriage to Britain's Prince Harry in May.

"Despite buoyant global demand, monetary and geopolitical uncertainties remain," LVMH's billionaire boss Bernard Arnault said in a statement, adding the group would remain "vigilant". ($1 = 0.8559 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White and Pascale Denis; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)