Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan widened 25.1 percent in January to JPY 85.1 billion (USD 1.1 billion) from a year earlier, remaining in the black for the 48th month in a row, the Finance Ministry said Monday.
Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan surged 25.3 percent to JPY 95.5 billion (USD 1.2 billion) for the ninth straight month of gain, and imports from Japan also expanded 26.5 percent year-on-year to JPY 10.4 billion (USD 130 million) for the fourth consecutive month of growth, the ministry said in a preliminary report.
The Middle East's trade surplus with Japan also widened 13.5 percent to JPY 987.8 billion (USD 12.4 billion) in January, with Japan-bound exports from the region growing 13.5 percent from a year earlier to JPY 1.146 trillion (USD 14.
Crude oil and petroleum products, which accounted for 98.4 percent of the region's total exports to Japan, rose 13.7 percent year-on-year. Among resources, liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments from the Middle East posted a 117.1 percent gain.
Imports from Japan also rose 13.5 percent to JPY 158.7 billion (USD 2.0 billion), as shipments of manufactured goods, machinery and automobiles, which accounted for 87.4 percent of the region's total imports from the country, enjoyed the robust growth.
Meanwhile, Japan marked a record high trade deficit in January, as exports slowed due to the European credit crisis and a strong yen, while fuel imports surged after the nuclear disaster. The world's third-biggest economy's global trade deficit stood at JPY 1.475 trillion (USD 18.5 billion) in January for the fourth consecutive month of deficit, the largest since the government began compiling data in 1979.
Exports for the month fell 9.3 percent for the fourth straight monthly decline on weaker demand for semiconductors, electronic parts and steel products. By contrast, imports grew 9.8 percent for the 25th consecutive rise due to continued high demand for crude oil, LNG and coal used for power generation.
Resource-poor Japan is buying more fossil fuels to meet electricity demand as nearly all the 54 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. The nation posted a record high trade deficit with China, its biggest trading partner.
The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors