Kuwait\'s trade surplus with Japan widened 5.5 percent in October to JPY 75.7 billion (USD 986 million) from a year earlier, remaining in the black for the 45th month in a row, the Finance Ministry said Monday. Kuwaiti exports to Japan rose 8.3 percent to JPY 86.7 billion (USD 1.1 billion) for the sixth straight month of gain, while imports from Japan jumped 32.5 percent year-on-year to JPY 11.0 billion (USD 143 million) for the first expansion in two months, the ministry said in a preliminary report. Japan is Kuwait\'s major trading partner, with two-way trade reaching JPY 1. 026 trillion (USD 13.4 billion) in 2010. The Middle East\'s trade surplus with Japan also expanded 42.5 percent to JPY 822.5 billion (USD 10.7 billion), with Japan-bound exports from the region growing 36.8 percent from a year earlier to JPY 1.012 trillion (USD 13.2 billion). Crude oil and petroleum products, which accounted for 98.1 percent of the region\'s total exports to Japan, soared 37.8 percent year-on-year. Imports from Japan also gained 16.7 percent to JPY 189.1 billion (USD 2.5 billion), as shipments of manufactured products, machinery, and electrical components, which accounted for almost half the region\'s total imports from Japan, expanded. Demand for automobiles was almost unchanged compared with the same month last year. The world\'s third-biggest economy posted a global deficit of JPY 273.8 billion (USD 3.6 billion) in October, falling into the red for the first time in two months, as exports have been hurt by the eurozone debt crisis, the yen\'s appreciation, and devastating floods in Thailand. Exports totaled JPY 5. 513 trillion (USD 71.8 billion), down 3.7 percent, marking the first decline in three months. Imports grew 17.9 percent to JPY 5.787 trillion (USD 75.4 billion) for the 22nd straight month of year-on-year growth due to higher crude oil and gas costs. Crude oil imports jumped 33.4 percent, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports rose 63.8 percent. Japan has boosted energy imports to meet electricity demand as many nuclear reactors have shut down following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, which triggered the world\'s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. China was Japan\'s biggest trading partner, followed by the US. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.