Kuwait's crude oil exports to Japan fell 4.1 percent in May from a year earlier to 6.09 million barrels, or 196,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the fifth consecutive monthly drop, the government said Thursday. Kuwaiti share of Japan's crude oil imports stood at 6.4 percent last month, compared with 5.9 percent in the same month of last year and 5.7 percent in April, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report. Japan is Kuwait's largest oil buyer. The state-run Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said late April that Kuwait markets daily crude oil ranging between 2.2 and 2.3 million barrel of crude oil, of which 80 percent oil goes to Asian economies, including Japan, South Korea and China.
Japan's overall imports of crude oil in the reporting month dropped 11.0 percent year-on-year to 95.41 million barrels (3.08 million bpd) for the third straight month of decline. Shipments from the Middle East fell 11.4 percent to 82.53 million barrels (2.66 million bpd), and accounted for 86.5 percent of the total, down 0.5 percentage points from a year before.
Saudi Arabia remained Japan's biggest oil supplier, with imports from the kingdom edging up 0.1 percent from a year earlier to 1.03 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 795,000 bpd, up 3.3 percent. Qatar ranked third, with shipments plunging 17.0 percent to 307,000 bpd. Iran became fourth with 262,000 bpd, down 15.2 percent.
Resources-poor Japan is the world's third-largest oil consumer after the US and China, and it relies on crude oil imports for about 50 percent of its energy needs. Shipments of direct-deal, which prices are based on the average spot price of Dubai crude, the benchmark for Asia, account for about 80 percent of Japan's crude imports.