(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan narrowed 6.7 percent in May to JPY 85.3 billion (USD 1.1 billion) from a year earlier, shrinking for the first time in 13 months.
Kuwait registered trade surplus with Japan for a 52 consecutive month of black ink, though the margin shrank for the first time since April 2011, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan edged down 0.2 percent to JPY 95.0 billion (USD 1.2 billion) for the first decline in 13 months, while imports from Japan surged 151.6 percent (PLS NOTE 151.6 PERCENT IS CORRECT) year-on-year to JPY 9.
8 billion (USD 124 million) for the eighth consecutive month of growth, the ministry said in a preliminary report.
The Middle East's trade surplus with Japan widened 6.2 percent to JPY 924.0 billion (USD 11.7 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region rising 12.3 percent from a year earlier to JPY 1.103 trillion (USD 14.0 billion).
Crude oil and petroleum products, which accounted for 98.1 percent of the region's total exports to Japan, grew 12.6 percent on the year. Among resources, liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from the Middle East marked a 35.2 percent rise. Imports from Japan also rose 60.5 percent to JPY 179.5 billion (USD 2.3 billion), thanks to robust shipments of automobiles, vehicle parts and steel.
The world's third-biggest economy posted a global deficit of JPY 907.26 billion (USD 11.5 billion) in May for the third straight month of red ink and rose 5.4 percent from a year earlier on soaring energy costs and weak exports to Europe, the ministry said.
It was the third biggest trade deficit since comparable data became available in 1979. The value of exports grew 10.0 percent to JPY 5.235 trillion (USD 66.4 billion) for the third straight monthly gain, thanks to strong shipments of automobiles and auto parts, mainly to the US.
Imports grew 9.3 percent to JPY 6.142 trillion (USD 77.9 billion) for the 29th consecutive month on rising purchases of crude oil, LNG and petroleum products.
Resource-poor Japan is buying more fossil fuels for thermal power generation as all of the nation's 50 workable nuclear reactors are currently idled due to safety concerns in the wake of the radiation accident in March 2011 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was triggered by the massive earthquake and tsunami. Japan logged its first ever trade deficit with the 27-member European Union since 1979 on the impact of the European debt crisis, while its trade deficit with top trading partner China also widened. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.