The figure is a first estimate based on December's estimate of a $15.6 billion surplus. In November's revised estimate, the trade surplus for the eurozone came to $16.9 billion, up from a surplus of $6.5 billion in November 2011.
From November to December of 2012, exports fell by 1.8 percent and imports were down by 3 percent for the eurozone, said the data agency for the European Commission.
For the 27-member European Union, the trade balance came to a $931 million deficit in December, with exports declining 1.9 percent from November and imports falling by 1.6 percent.
For the year, the EU's trade balance came to a deficit of $139.1 billion compared to a deficit of $216.3 billion in 2011, Eurostat said.