Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan went by 67.7% from a year earlier to JPY 24.6 billion (USD 235 million) in May, shrinking for the 12th month in a row, as exports more than halved, the Finance Ministry said Monday.
But Kuwait maintained monthly black ink with Japan for eight years and four months, the ministry said in a preliminary report.
Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan tumbled 57.1% year-on-year to JPY 36.8 billion (USD 351 million) for the 12th straight monthly decline, while imports from Japan jumped 27.7% to JPY 12.1 billion (USD 116 million), up for the first time in five months, Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.
Middle East's trade surplus with Japan also narrowed 38.5% to JPY 317.5 billion (USD 3.0 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region plunging 30.7% from a year earlier. Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 94.4% of the region's total exports to Japan, shrank 31.7%. The region's overall imports from Japan slid 10.7%, due to weaker demand for vehicle, steel and machinery.
The world's third-biggest economy logged a global deficit of JPY 40.7 billion (USD 389 million) in May, slipping back into the red for the first time in four months due to weak exports. Overall exports fell 11.3% from the year before, and imports also decreased 13.8%, with the value of crude oil imports dropping 30.6% due to low prices. China remained Japan's biggest trade partner, followed by the US.
The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.