In December, exports grew 12.9 percent year-on-year to ¥897 billion, the biggest since October of 2008. Sales to Asia, which account for more than half of the country's total exports, rose 11 percent (5.9 percent a month earlier). Shipments to China increased by 4.3 percent, to Hong Kong by 26.3, to Taiwan by 4.8 percent and to South Korea by 10.1 percent. Exports to the United States surged by 23.7 percent while to Western Europe rose by 6.8 percent.
By commodity, exports increased among all major categories: electrical machinery (13.7 percent), machinery (11.3 percent), manufactured goods (9.4 percent), chemicals (8 percent) and transport equipment (10.9 percent).
Imports rose by 1.9 percent year-on-year to ¥7557 billion as decline in price of energy commodities was not enough to offset a weaker yen. Shipments of mineral fuels decreased by 10.6 percent with petroleum dropping by 22 percent in value but only 4.8 percent in volume terms.
Trade deficit with China, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Russia increased while with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait decreased. Trade surplus with United States, Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore widened while with Thailand and Taiwan narrowed.
For whole 2014, trade deficit swelled to a record ¥12781 billion in 2014, up 11.4 percent from the 2013 deficit and the worst since records began in 1979.