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Kuwait's March trade surplus with Japan down 12.4 Pct

TOKYO, April 17 (KUNA) -- Kuwait's trade surplus with Japan in March narrowed 12.4 percent from a year earlier to JPY 106.2 billion (USD 685 million), down for the first time in two months, due to slow exports, government data showed Wednesday.
However, Kuwait stayed in black ink with Japan for 16 years and two months, as exports still outpaced imports in value, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report.
Overall exports from Kuwait to Japan fell 14.2 percent year-on-year to JPY 128.4 billion (USD 829 million) for the first decline in two months. Imports from Japan also slid 21.8 percent to JPY 22.2 billion (USD 143 million), down for the fourth month in a row.
Middle East's trade surplus with Japan also narrowed 3.4 percent to JPY 796.8 billion (USD 5.2 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports from the region sliding 0.9 percent from a year earlier.
Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 95.8 percent of the region's total exports to Japan, sank 1.0 percent.
The region's overall imports from Japan expanded 5.1 percent on demand for machinery, manufactured goods and electrical machinery.
Japan's global trade balance returned to surplus in March, marking the first black ink in three months at JPY 366.5 billion (USD 2.4 billion). Exports grew 7.3 percent from the year before, mainly driven by shipments of automobiles, electronic semiconductor parts and vessels.
Imports fell 4.9 percent on lower energy bills, especially coal and LNG, as well as non-ferrous metal. 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. (end) mk.rk