Japan exports rise 5.4% in December, first gain in 15 months

A laborer works in a container area at a port in Tokyo.
A laborer works in a container area at a port in Tokyo.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's exports rose 5.4 per cent in December from a year earlier, posting the first gain in 15 months, government data showed on Wednesday (Jan 25), reflecting a pick-up in global demand and effects of a weaker yen.

The rise in the value of exports compared with a 1.2 per cent increase expected by economists in a Reuters poll. It followed a 0.4 per cent year-on-year decline in November, the Ministry of Finance data showed.

Imports fell 2.6 per cent in December, versus the median estimate for a 0.8 per cent decrease.

That brought the trade balance to 641.4 billion yen (S$8.01 billion) in the black, versus the median estimate for a 270 billion yen surplus. It was the fourth straight month of surplus.