Berlin - German exports posted a surprise fall in December, bringing to an end four consecutive monthly gains, the Federal Statistics Office said Friday.

Monthly exports from Europe's biggest economy fell by 0.9 per cent in December after gaining 0.7 per cent in November.

Analysts had expected a rise of 0.8 per cent.

Imports also dropped unexpectedly in December, by 0.6 per cent, after contracting by 2.3 per cent in November, the data showed.

Analysts had forecast a 1.2-per-cent increase.

This resulted in the calendar and seasonally adjusted trade surplus narrowing to 18.5 billion euros (25.13 billion dollars) in December from 18.9 billion euros in November.

For the full year, exports slipped by 0.2 per cent while imports dropped by 1.2 per cent compared with 2012.

This represented the first full-year fall in exports since the 2009 recession.

Germany's trade balance widened year on year to a record 198.9 billion euros, the statistics office said. - Sapa-dpa