Compared with the December 2011 month, exports were down $217 million (5.1 percent) to $4.1 billion. Crude oil recorded the largest decrease, down $113 million (47 percent). Imports fell $403 million (10 percent) to $3.6 billion. There was a trade surplus of $486 million (12 percent of exports). This is the largest trade surplus recorded for a December month as a percentage of exports since December 1991.
For the year ended December 2012, merchandise exports were down $1.7 billion to $46 billion. Exports to Australia fell $1.0 billion and were almost offset by a rise in exports to China of $975 million. Imports for the December 2012 year rose $339 million to $47 billion.