Japan posted a merchandise trade surplus of 751.005 billion yen in December, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.
That was shy of expectations for a surplus of 942.8 billion yen but up from 366.8 billion yen in November.
Exports were up 2.0 percent on year at 6.706 trillion yen – missing forecasts for an increase of 2.4 percent following the 4.2 percent decline in the previous month.
Exports to the rest of Asia rose 6.1 percent on year to 3.914 trillion yen – including a 10.2 percent annual spike to 1.556 trillion yen for just China.
Exports to the United States dipped 0.7 percent on year to 1.212 trillion yen, while exports to the European Union fell an annual 1.6 percent to 621.693 billion yen.
Imports sank an annual 11.6 percent to 5.955 trillion yen versus expectations for a decline of 14.0 percent following the 11.1 percent drop a month earlier.
Imports from the rest of Asia dipped an annual 2.6 percent to 3.060 trillion yen, while imports from China alone sank an annual 1.8 percent to 1.568 trillion yen.
Imports from the United States plummeted an annual 21.9 percent to 585.226 billion yen, while imports from the European Union dropped 4.0 percent on year to 699.067 billion yen.