Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan widened 52.8 percent in June to JPY 75.4 billion (USD 754 million) from a year earlier, remaining in the black zone for the 65th month in a row, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday. Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan surged 49.1 percent to JPY 90.2 billion (USD 902 million) for the second straight month of gain. Imports from Japan also rose 32.5 percent year-on-year to JPY 14.8 billion (USD 148 million), up for the second month, the ministry said in a preliminary report.
Middle East's trade surplus with Japan also widened 7.1 percent to JPY 906.
1 billion (USD 9.1 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region expanding 8.0 percent from a year earlier.
Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 97.9 percent of the region's total exports to Japan, grew 7.5 percent on the year. Meanwhile, the region's overall imports from Japan went up 12.2 percent, mainly due to robust shipments of automobile, steel and electrical components.
The world's third-biggest economy logged a global deficit of JPY 180.8 billion (USD 1.8 billion) in June for the 12th month of red ink, as the weaker yen pushed up costs for imports despite a rise in exports. This marked the longest string of monthly shortfalls since 1979-1980, when the country had been hit by the second oil shock.
Exports totaled JPY 6.061 trillion (USD 60.6 billion), up 7.4 percent, thanks to increases in automobile and chemical products. Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, rose 4.8 percent on the year. Imports also grew 11.8 percent to JPY 6.242 trillion (USD 62.4 billion), as LNG imports increased 15.0 percent and crude oil 5.3 percent, respectively.
Japan's currency weakened 26.0 percent against the US dollar in June from a year earlier, according to the ministry. The weak yen benefits Japanese exporters by making their products cheaper overseas, but it also inflates energy-poor Japan's import bills, especially those of crude oil, LNG and other natural resources.
Japanese utilities continued to import more LNG for thermal power generation, as only two of the nation's 50 workable nuclear reactors are currently online 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. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.