Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan narrowed 36.8% to JPY 68.1 billion (US $666 million), shrinking for the second month in a row as exports plunged.
But Kuwait maintained black ink with Japan for the 76th consecutive month. Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan slid 34.1% year-on-year to JPY 80.4 billion (US $786 million) for the second consecutive monthly decline, and imports from Japan dropped 14.1% to JPY 12.3 billion (US $120 million), down for the first time in 13 months.
Middle East's trade surplus with Japan declined 14.5% to JPY 887.3 billion (USD 8.7 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region falling 10.5% from a year earlier. Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 97.0% of the region's total exports to Japan, fell 11.2%. But the region's overall imports from Japan grew 10.9%.
Japan's global deficit narrowed, as imports declined after the sales tax increase in April. The world's third-biggest economy posted a trade deficit of JPY 909.0 billion (US $8.9 billion), down 8.3% on the year.
Overall exports decreased 2.7% to JPY 5.608 trillion (US $54.8 billion), the first decline in 15 months, due to sluggish shipments of marine vessels and automobiles. Imports fell 3.6% to JPY 6.517 trillion (US $63.7 billion). Personal spending and industrial output slowed following the April 1 sales tax hike to 8% from 5%. Exports to China, Japan's biggest trading partner, edged up 0.4%, and imports from the country fell 2.7%, posting a deficit with China for the 27th straight month.
Japan's currency weakened against the US dollar by 2.9% the year before. The yen's depreciation supports exports by making Japanese products more competitive overseas and increase the value of repatriated overseas earning, but it inflates import prices. The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.