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Japan’s trade with GCC declined in the first half of 2013

Dubai: The value of two-way trade between Japan and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) declined 9.8 per cent during the first six months of 2013, caused mainly by a decline in the average price and import volume of the main commodity of trade – Crude oils, Japan External Trade Organization said in a statement.

The bilateral trade value came down to $85.03 (Dh312.7 billion) billion during the first six months of 2013, from S94.24 billion during the same period in 2012. Average price of crude oils fell to S109.41 per barrel during the first half of 2013 from $118.84 during the same period in 2012

Japan’s exports to the GCC countries decreased by 13.6 per cent to US 10.97 billion, and imports by 9.2 per cent to $74.06 billion. A 17.86 per cent fall in the average value of Japanese Yen against US dollars has also contributed to the decline in the value of Japan’s exports to the GCC.

Japan’s exports to all the GCC countries have registered declines, with exports to Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia registering higher decreases in value. Similarly, Japan’s imports too, from all GCC countries, registered declines, except that from Qatar.

Looking at Japan’s world trade during the first half of 2013, there had been a 10.8 per cent overall decline in the trade value. Japan’s exports to the world over contracted by 13 per cent and imports by 8.7 per cent in value. The decline in export value can be attributed mainly to the fall in the value of Japanese Yen against US dollars, and partly to the slowdown in the economies of Japan’s major trading partners.

Japan’s major exports to the GCC countries in 2013 were motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, electronics, iron & steel materials, rubber products, plastic products and textiles. The share of motor vehicle exports in Japan’s total exports to the GCC grew to 59.5 per cent during the first half of 2013, compared to 58.8 per cent during the same period in 2012. However, the total value of vehicle exports to the GCC declined by 11 per cent to S6.53 billion from S7.3 billion. While export of general machinery, electrical machinery, rubber products, iron and steel products etc posted negative growth, exports of textile materials, optical items, glass and glassware items, prepared foodstuff, pharmaceutical products, precious stones and metals etc posted positive growth. Export of prepared fish and caviar posted a growth of 24 per cent to S10.5 million from S8.5 million.

The share of crude oil in Japan’s import from the GCC averaged 74.5 per cent of the total imports from the GCC, and 75.4% of Japan’s total crude oil imports from the world over. GCC countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait took the top four positions respectively of the major suppliers of crude oils to Japan. Japan imported a total of 498.7 million barrels of crude oils, valued at S54.56 billion, during the first half of 2013, compared to 510.3 million barrels, valued at S60.64 billion, during the same period in 2012.

Japan’s aluminium import from the GCC countries grew by 7.9 per cent to S367.9 million during the first six months of 2013, from S340.8 million during the same period in 2012. UAE was Japan’s top supplier of aluminium among the GCC countries, and the 4th largest supplier to Japan in the world, exporting aluminium worth US S270 million during the first half of 2013. Aluminium import from Qatar — the second largest supplier of aluminium to Japan among the GCC countries — increased 49.5 per cent to $50.4 million. Import of aluminium from Bahrain, once a leading supplier to Japan, also rose by 17.9 per cent to S12.2 million. The share of GCC as a whole in Japan’s aluminium imports from the world over was nearly 10% during the period under review, compared to 8.3% during the same period in the previous year.