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Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan narrows 34% in April – Overall exports to Japan plunges to $646 million

TOKYO: Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan narrowed 34.0 percent in April to JPY 63.8 billion ($524 million) from a year earlier, shrinking for the sixth month, as exports declined by almost 30 percent, the Finance Ministry said yesterday. But Kuwait maintained black ink with Japan for the 87th consecutive month, the ministry said in a preliminary report. Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan plunged 29.3 percent year-on-year to JPY 78.6 billion ($646 million) for the sixth straight monthly fall, while imports from Japan grew 2.3 percent to JPY 14.8 billion ($122 million), up for the second month.

Middle East’s trade surplus with Japan also shrank 45.4 percent to JPY 548. 0 billion ($4.5 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region tumbling 34.9 percent from a year earlier. Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 95.6 percent of the region’s total exports to Japan, slid 36.2 percent.

The region’s overall imports from Japan expanded 7.6 percent, thanks to robust shipments of automobile, machinery, and electric equipment. Japan’s trade balance slipped back into a deficit in April following a surplus in the previous month, but narrowed 93.5 percent on the year as declining crude oil prices reduced fuel import costs.

The world’s third-biggest economy posted a global deficit of JPY 53.4 billion ($439 million), the lowest since March 2009. Overall exports rose 8.0 percent to JPY 6.551 trillion (USD 53.9 billion), up for the eighth straight month, buoyed by increased shipments of vehicles to the US and Europe and electrical parts to other regions of Asia. Imports dropped 4.2 percent to JPY 6.605 trillion ($54.3 billion), down for the fourth straight month, as imports of crude oil and liquefied natural gas declined by nearly onethird in value, reflecting the plunge in their prices.

Exports to China, Japan’s biggest trading partner, edged up 2.4 percent, and imports from the country expanded 2.5 percent. Japan’s currency weakened against the US dollar by 17.0 percent from the year before to an average of JPY 119.89 in April, according to the ministry. The yen’s depreciation supports exports by making Japanese products more competitive overseas and increases the value of repatriated overseas earning, but it also inflates import prices. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors. —KUNA

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This article was published on 25/05/2015