Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan plunges 48.3 percent

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Down for first time in 2 months due to weak exports

TOKYO, April 17, (KUNA): Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan plunged 48.3 percent from a year earlier to JPY 22.1 billion ($197 million) in March, down for the first time in two months due to weak exports, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.

But Kuwait stayed in black ink with Japan for 11 years and two months, as exports still outpaced its imports by a big margin, the ministry said in a preliminary report. Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan slid 36.1 percent yearon- year to JPY 38.5 billion ($344 million) for the first decline in two months.

Imports from Japan also fell 6.4 percent to JPY 16.4 billion ($146 million), down for the first time in two months. Middle East’s trade surplus with Japan shrank 7.8 percent to JPY 540.3 billion ($4.8 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region falling 9.9 percent from a year earlier.

Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 95.4 percent of the region’s total exports to Japan, declined 10.3 percent. The region’s overall imports from Japan also went down 14.5 percent, as shipments of automobile, machinery and steel were sluggish.

The world’s third-biggest economy posted a global surplus of JPY 528.5 billion ($4.7 billion) in March, marking a second straight month of black ink. But overall exports dropped 2.4 percent on weak shipments of machinery and LCD parts to China amid China’s slowing economy and its trade conflict with the US. Imports edged up 1.1 percent. 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.

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