TOKYO, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Japan's exports in 2020 tumbled 11.1 percent from a year earlier, marking the largest fall in 11 years as the COVID-19 pandemic hurt demand for the country's products, particularly automobiles, the government said in a report on Thursday.
According to the Finance Ministry, exports in the recording period stood at 68.41 trillion yen (662 billion U.S. dollars), the lowest level since 63.75 trillion yen logged in 2012.
The yearly decline marked the steepest since a 33.1-percent dive booked for 2009 in the wake of the global financial crisis, the ministry's preliminary figures showed.
Japan's key exports of automobiles and related parts slumped 20.0 and 19.1 percent respectively from 2019, according to the ministry's data.
Overall imports dropped 13.8 percent to 67.73 trillion yen, owing to the falling price of crude oil among other energy resources, with the figure marking the lowest since 66.04 trillion yen was booked for 2016.
Japan goods trade surplus for 2020 stood at 674.73 billion yen, the ministry said.
With the United States, Japan's goods trade surplus in 2020 fell 21.6 percent to 5.19 trillion yen.
Exports to the United States tumbled 17.3 percent to 12.61 trillion yen, with exports of cars slipping 19.2 percent.
Imports to the world's largest economy, meanwhile, dropped 4.0 percent to 7.43 trillion yen, said the ministry.
Exports to China, Japan's largest trading partner, rose 2.7 percent to 15.08 trillion yen, while imports fell 5.3 percent to 17.48 trillion yen, leading to a trade deficit of 2.39 trillion yen, the ministry said.
Japan's trade deficit with the European Union declined 1.5 percent to 1.33 trillion yen, with exports down 14.6 percent to 6.46 trillion yen, while imports declined 12.6 percent to 7.79 trillion yen.
In December 2020, however, exports increased for the first time year-on-year in 25 months, expanding 2.0 percent from a year earlier to 6.71 trillion yen, the ministry's data showed.
Imports in December 2020 were down 11.6 percent to 5.96 trillion yen, dropping for a 20th straight month and leading to goods trade surplus of 751.01 billion yen, the sixth straight month of surplus logged, the ministry said. (1 U.S. dollar equals 103.41 yen).