(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan narrowed 11.0 percent in October to JPY 67.4 billion (USD 828 million) from a year earlier, shrinking for the first time in three months, and Kuwait maintained black ink with Japan for the 57th consecutive month, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan fell 6.2 percent to JPY 81.3 billion (USD 998 million) for the first monthly decline since July, while imports from Japan rose 26.2 percent year-on-year to JPY 13.9 billion (USD 171 million), up for the first time in two months, the ministry said in a preliminary report.
Middle East trade surplus with Japan also narrowed 17.2 percent to JPY 681.
1 billion (USD 8.4 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region falling 14.0 percent from a year earlier. Crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), which accounted for 83.3 percent of the region's total exports to Japan, shrank from a year earlier, with crude oil alone decreasing 17.4 percent. The region's imports from Japan edged up 0.1 percent, as shipments of automobiles and steel surged but those of machinery and electronic components declined.
The world's third-biggest economy registered a global deficit of JPY 549.0 billion (USD 6.7 billion) in October for the fourth straight monthly shortfall due to plunge in exports to China amid tensions over a territorial dispute. Demand in Europe also remained weak on the sovereign debt crisis.
It was the biggest trade deficit for the month of October since comparable data became available in 1979.
Overall exports fell 6.5 percent to JPY 5.15 trillion (USD 63.2 billion), the fifth month of decline on slower shipments of vehicles and machinery. Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, fell 11.6 percent on the year led by slumps in automobiles following anti-Japan riots and boycotting of Japanese products in China in the wake of the Japanese government's purchase in mid-September of disputed islands in the East China Sea from a private owner. Both Japan and China claim the islets.
Exports of automobiles to China dropped 82 percent, the sharpest since October 2001. In addition, the Chinese economy remained slow on the impact of the European debt crisis.
Imports slid 1.6 percent to JPY 5.70 trillion (USD 70.0 billion) for the first decrease in two months on lower crude oil prices. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.