While Japan’s imports from the GCC countries surged 39.4% to $142.6bn in 2011, her exports to the GCC registered a decline of 2.2% to $19.6bn from $20.1bn in 2010. Japan’s trade deficit with the six-nation bloc of the GGC countries thus increased by 49.5% to $122.9bn in 2011, compared to $82.3bn in 2010. The highest deficit recorded was $145.3bn in 2008.
The Great East Japan Earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear accident in North-East Japan in early 2011 have exerted great pressure on Japan’s economy that was slowly turning around from the effects of the global financial crisis which started in 2008. In 2011, Japan had to increase the import of mineral fuels, especially gaseous hydrocarbons to compensate the loss of electric power produced by reactors that were crippled by the earthquake and the tsunami. Moreover, in the wake of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant, power production at nuclear power stations across the country was temporarily stopped for severe inspections on safety requirements and also for regular maintenance, requiring Japan to relay more upon conventional fuel for power production. Increased import of natural gas was thus made necessary, even in the backdrop of an escalation in the prices of mineral fuels globally.
The volume of petroleum gases imported by Japan from the GCC countries surged 25.3% to 31.5 million tons, in spite of an increase in its average price by around 26%. The average price of petroleum gases surged to $799.21 per ton in 2011 compared to $635.10 in 2010. In the case of crude oils, Japan almost maintained the volume of import in 2011 compared to the previous year, in spite of a 37% increase in its average price. The price surged to $108.86 per barrel in 2011 from $79.43 per barrel in 2010.
Japan imported a total of 987.7 million barrels of crude oil from the GCC in 2011, compared to 991.5 million barrels in 2010. An increase of 28.4% was also registered in the value of light oils and oil preparations that Japan imported from the GCC countries in 2011 which was amounted to $8.3bn in total.
Japan’s total import of mineral fuels from the world over in 2011 was amounted to $274.3bn, compared to $198.6bn in 2010, an increase of 38.1%. The ratio of Japan’s mineral fuel imports to her total imports soared to 32.04% in 2011 from 28.60% in 2010 mainly due to the increases in the volume of import of petroleum gases, oil preparations and mineral tars. Meanwhile, the volume of Japan’s crude oil imports from the world over decreased by 2.04% to 1,301.9 million barrels in 2011, compared to 1,329.1 million barrels in 2011. However, 75.9% of Japan’s total crude oil imports in 2011 came from the GCC block.
Saudi Arabia remained as Japan’s major supplier of crude oils in 2011, with a value of $46.9bn, and a share of 33.04% of the total crude oil imports of Japan from over the world. The United Arab Emirates followed at the 2nd position with a value of $33.1bn, and a share of 23.29%. The GCC countries jointly supplied just above 75% of Japan’s total crude oil requirements in 2011, making the GCC block Japan’s crucial partner in her energy security. Other major suppliers of crude oils to Japan were Iran, Russia, Indonesia, Iraq, Sudan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Australia. While crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia and the UAE increased in volume and value, imports from Qatar, Kuwait and Oman decreased. Outside the GCC, while Japan’s crude oil imports from Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam registered considerable increases in 2011, imports from Iran, Russia, Iraq and Australia made major decreases.
GCC has also been a major source of petroleum gases to Japan, and in 2011, Japan imported a quantity of 31.54 million tons of petroleum gases from the GCC countries. The different types of petroleum gases that Japan imported from the GCC were liquefied natural gas, liquefied propane gas and liquefied butane gas. The average price of petroleum gases in 2011 increased by 25.84% to $799.21 per ton, compared to $635.10 in 2010. GCC’s supply of petroleum gases to Japan covered 31.40% of Japan’s total petroleum gases imports in 2011. Qatar was the major supplier of gases to Japan among the GCC countries, followed by UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Outside the GCC, the major suppliers of gases to Japan were Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Russia and Brunei.
Japan’s aluminium import from the GCC surged in 2011 by 48.56% to $614.79m, compared to $413.83m in 2010. Japan’s aluminium import from over the world rose by 14.97% to $9.22bn in 2011 from $8.02bn in 2010. The average price of aluminium imported from the GCC countries increased by 11.97% to $2.62 per Kg in 2011 from $2.34 Kg in 2010. At the same time, the average price of aluminium import from the world over increased 14.89% to $3.01 per Kg in 2011, compared to $2.62 per Kg in 2010. UAE topped the list of aluminium exporters to Japan among the GCC countries with a value of $543.53m, covering 88.41% of Japan’s aluminium imports from the GCC countries. Japan imported a total of 234,497 metric tons of aluminium from the GCC in 2011, which was 7.64% of Japan’s total import of 3.1 million metric tons from the world over. China was the top supplier of aluminium to Japan in 2011, followed by Australia, Russia, Brazil, New Zealand, UAE, Thailand, South Africa and the USA in the order of value.
Motor vehicles remained to be Japan’s top export commodity in 2011, in spite of the industry facing severe challenges caused by the earthquake and the tsunami. There had been a 13.7% decline in the value of exports of motor vehicles to the GCC countries, which was attributed to the fall in the export of passenger motor cars during the months immediately following the earthquake and the tsunami. The value of motor vehicles exported to the GCC stood at $10.03bn in 2011, compared to $11.62bn in 2010. Export of transport vehicles, such as trucks and busses, and parts and accessories for motor vehicles, however, registered increases in varying degrees during 2011. In total, motor vehicles and allied products covered 51.12% of Japan’s total exports to the GCC countries in 2011. UAE was Japan’s top export destination for passenger motor cars in the GCC, and the 7th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia stood at the 9th position, followed by the Sultanate of Oman in the 11th position. While export of passenger motor cars to many countries, including all the GCC countries, registered declines, export to countries like Russia, Germany, France, Malaysia, New Zealand etc. registered considerable increases.
Japan’s machinery exports to the GCC countries, the 2nd largest commodity of export to the GCC, surged by 24.08% in 2011 to $3.47bn supported by increased demands for different kinds of pumps, compressors, derrick cranes, gas or steam turbines etc. UAE was Japan’s largest market among the GCC countries for general machinery, followed by Saudi Arabia. China topped the list of Japan’s general machinery export markets with a value of $39.17bn worth of general machinery export. USA (30.06bn), South Korea (12.99bn) and Taiwan (9.08bn) followed in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th positions. UAE was at the 21st position in the world (1.65bn), and Saudi Arabia at the 25th position with $1.23bn.
The next major commodity of export to the GCC was rubber products, mostly, new tyres. Japan exported rubber products worth $1.19bn to the GCC countries in 2011 that included $1.05bn worth of new tyres. UAE was the number one destination for Japan among the GCC countries, and the 3rd largest market in the world for new tires. Japan exported new tires worth $447.70m to the UAE in 2011, followed by Saudi Arabia with an export value of $426.29m. Japan’s top markets in the world for new tires were USA and Australia in the 1st and 2nd positions respectively.
Export of several electrical machinery surged in 2011, such as, electrical ignition equipment, insulating cables, carbon electrodes, electric motors and generators, electric apparatus for line telephones etc., in spite of a 7.55% overall decline in the export value, on a year-on-year basis. Export value of electrical machinery was amounted to $1.18bn, in 2011, compared to $1.28bn in 2010. Those items showed a decline in exports were transmission apparatus for radio telephony, electrical transformers, television receivers, electric circuit breakers etc.
Export of iron & steel materials and products made a firm recovery in 2011, a surge of 16.90% to $1.66bn. Bulk of the increases were registered for the export of tubes & pipes (13.53%), railway track construction materials, flat rolled iron materials and articles such as angles, shapes, sections etc. While Export of tubes and pipes increased by 13.53% to $750.78m, export of other iron and steel articles such as flat rolled alloy sheets, angles, shapes and sections etc. increased by 32.31% to $701.90m.
Export of textile materials such as man-made filament fabrics and man-made staple fabrics including yarns and woven fabrics as a whole increased 9.15% in 2011 after a 16.79% decline in the previous year. UAE maintained the top position among the GCC countries for Japan’s textile exports and the GCC block as a whole stood as the 2nd largest block after China in the world. Some of the other major items that saw an increase in exports were plastic goods such as acrylic polymers, vinyl chloride, ethylene etc, and mineral fuels such as petroleum oils and oils from bituminous minerals.
Saudi Arabia was Japan’s largest trading partner among the GCC countries and the top supplier of crude oils to Japan. Saudi–Japan trade surged 34.7% to $57.07bn in 2011, mainly due to the increase in the price of mineral fuels and partly due to the increased exports of general machinery, iron and steel products, rubber and plastic goods. Export of passenger motor cars suffered a decline with the value sliding 17.45% to $2.79bn in 2011, compared to $3.38bn in 2010. However, there had been considerable increases in the export of trucks, tractors and motor cycles. General machinery, especially of air and water pumps, gas turbines, derricks, cranes etc. posted major increases in exports. Export of iron &steel materials and iron and steel products rose 26.82% to $858.99m from $677.34m in 2010. Other than passenger motor cars, some of the items that saw decline in exports were clocks and watches, prepared meat and fish, furniture and beddings.
Japan imported 431.4 million barrels of crude oils from Saudi Arabia in 2011, 5.5% higher in volume than the volume of import in 2010. The average price of Saudi crude oil rose by nearly 37% to $108.84 per barrel in 2011, compared to $79.45 per barrel in 2010.
With regards to gas imports, volume of imports declined 7.31%, but the value increased 12.26%, due to a 21.12% increase in its average price. Japan imported 1.91 million tons of gaseous hydrocarbons from Saudi Arabia in 2011, at an average price of $887.20 per ton. Japan’s import of organic chemicals, mainly acyclic alcohols and their halogens, rose by more than 40% to $445.16m from $317.95m in 2010. Other major imports from Saudi Arabia that registered increases were plastics (+80.3% to $142.1m) and copper articles (+44.09% to $114.66m).
The value of Japan’s trade with the UAE increased 37.46% to $50.3bn in 2011 compared to $36.6bn in 2010. Japan’s exports to the UAE rose 1.8% to $7.46bn and imports 46.38% to $42.9bn. UAE was Japan’s largest export destination among the GCC countries in 2011, covering a share of 38.03% of the total exports to the GCC. The value of Japan’s motor vehicle exports to the UAE fell 9.02% to $3.17bn in 2011 compared to $3.49bn in the previous year. The Share of motor vehicles in Japan’s total exports to the UAE fell to 42.53% in 2011 from 47.59% in 2010. Export of general machinery to the UAE rose as high as 37%, while export of electrical machinery declined by more than 10%. Beside general machinery, increase in exports were recorded in iron and steel, optical goods, mineral fuels, textile fabrics etc.
The value of Japan’s imports from the UAE surged 46.38% to $42.9bn in 2011, compared to $29.3bn in 2010. 98.45% of imports from the UAE were composed of mineral fuels, of which crude oils alone covered 78.41%. Japan’s crude oil imports from the UAE covered 23.29% of her total crude oil imports from the world. Japan imported a total of 300.7 million barrels of crude oil from the UAE in 2011, compared to 278.12 million barrels in 2010, an increase of 8.11% in volume. The average price of crude oils surged 37.48% to $110.07 per barrel in 2011 from $80.06 per barrel in 2010. UAE remained to be the 2nd largest supplier of crude oils to Japan after Saudi Arabia. The value of natural gas imports from the UAE surged 41.93% to $4.4bn in 2011 from $3.1bn in the previous year.
Another major item of Japan’s import from the UAE was aluminium that rose by 64.79% to $543.5m in 2011 from $329.8m in 2010. UAE has been a traditional source of semi-finished aluminium to Japan, which is imported in the form of unwrought aluminium and unwrought aluminium alloys. The quantity of aluminium import rose by 47.3% to 205.6 million Kg at an average price of $2.64/Kg, compared to 139.6 million at an average price of $2.36/Kg in 2010. UAE became the 6th largest supplier of aluminium to Japan in 2011, jumping four positions upwards from the previous year. Other suppliers of aluminium to Japan form the GCC were Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Japan’s trade with Qatar, its 3rd largest trading partner among the GCC countries, increased by 36.49% to $31.2 bn in 2011, in spite of a 10.44% fall in Japan’s exports to that country. The increase in the price of crude oils and an increase in the volume of gas imports from Qatar were mainly attributed to the increase in the value of trade. It is also worth noting here that Qatar had pledged to supply additional quantity of LNG to Japan to meet increased demands in conventional fuel sources after the nuclear accident caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Though the export of passenger motor cars to Qatar declined, considerable increases were recorded in the exports of motor trucks, public transport vehicles, tires, automobile parts and accessories, reflecting the construction boom taking place in that country. While the export of passenger motor cars declined 21.2% to $610.7m, export of motor trucks increased 26.15% to $61.2m from $48.5m, and public transport vehicles by 13.86% to 56.7m from $49.8m. Export of new tyres rose by 24.0% to $29.1m from 23.5 million in 2010. Increase in the export of air/vacuum pumps, self propelled dozers, steam turbines etc. kept the balance of general machinery exports to Qatar as export of liquid pumps, gas turbines, pipes and pipe fitting equipment and materials fell during the year. Among electrical machinery, while export of insulated cables and wires dropped by around 16%, export of carbon electrodes, electrical lighting and signalling equipment and electrical boards and panels etc. increased. Export of rubber products – mostly new tyres – rose 25.52% to $37.82m in 2011 compared to $30.10m in the previous year.
Qatar was the world’s largest supplier of gaseous hydrocarbons to Japan in 2011. Value of Japan’s import of petroleum gasses from Qatar jumped 79.95 to $13.2bn in 2011, compared to $7.4bn in 2010. This high jump in the value is attributed to an increase in the volume of petroleum gas imports from Qatar, coupled with the rise in the average price of petroleum gasses. The average price of gases increased 24.75% to $835.62 per ton in 2011, compared to $669.85 per ton in 2010.
The volume of gas imports at the same time rose 44.47% to 15.83 million tons in 2011 from 10.98 million tons in 2010. The volume of crude oil imports from Qatar decreased 13.47% to 137.5 million barrels from 158.9 million barrels in 2010. However, due to a 24.75% rise in the average price of the crude oils, the value of import rose 18.26% to $14.9bn from $12.6bn in 2010.
A considerable increase was registered in the import of aluminium from Qatar in 2011. From a meagre 1.1 million Kg of aluminium in 2010, Japan’s import of aluminium from Qatar rose to 19.7 million in 2011, with a value of $46.1m.
Other imports from Qatar were organic chemicals, iron and steel (ferrous products), plastics (ethylene in primary form) and fertilizers, in small quantities.
The value of Japan’s trade with Kuwait increased 23.82% to $14.5bn in 2011, driven mainly by the surge in the price of mineral fuels, and partly by an increase in Japan’s exports of general machinery, iron and steel products, and new tyres. A decline in the export of motor vehicles and electrical machinery however lead to an overall decline in Japan’s exports to Kuwait. Export of passenger motor cars declined 10.07% to $737.5m in 2011, compared to $820.1m in 2010. Overall exports declined by 4.41% to $1,355.4m from $1,418m in the previous year. Export of air or vacuum pumps rose by 277.52% to $17.6m in 2011, compared to $4.7m in 2010. Similarly, export of pipes and tubes rose by 47.4% to $14.2m from $9.6m in 2010.
Imports from Kuwait surged 27.7% in 2011 to $13.14bn, with mineral fuel covering 99.97% of the total imports. The volume of crude oil imports in 2011 decreased 13% to 88.2 million barrels from 101.3 million barrels in the previous year. The average price of crude oils however surged 36.97% to $106.97 per barrel in 2011 from $78.10 in 2010, forcing the value of crude oil import surge by 19.16%. Import of light oils and oil preparations also rose by 60.4% in value to $2.27bn.
A moderate increase in the value of trade between Japan and the Sultanate of Oman was registered in 2011, in spite of a considerable decrease in the volume of crude oil imports from that country. The increase in the value of trade was attributed to the rise in the average price of crude oils and also to an increase in the quantity and price of gaseous hydrocarbons imported from Oman.
Japan’s exports to Oman declined 9.91% to $2.8bn in 2011, compared to $3.1bn in 2010. This decline in the trade value was driven by the fall in the export of motor vehicles, especially of passenger cars. Passenger car import declined by 25.82% to $1.5bn, from nearly $2bn in the previous year.
Considerable increases in exports were registered in general machinery, electrical machinery, iron and steel products and new tyres. Export of organic and inorganic chemicals, textile products etc. have also showed increases in exports.
Japan’s crude oil imports from Oman decreased 30.44% in quantity to 30 million barrels in 2011, compared to 43.1 million barrels in the previous year. The value of crude oil imports in 2011 was amounted to $3.2bn. However, at the same time, the volume of liquefied natural gas imports rose by 34.64% to 3.9 million tons, valued at $1.9bn in 2011, compared to 2.9 million tons valued at $1.0bn in the previous year.
Seafood – mostly frozen fish, molluscs and other aquatic vertebrates – has been Japan’s 2nd largest commodity of import from Oman, of which, the value of import surged 51.11% to $12.9m in 2011, compared to $8.4m in the previous year. Oman had also been Japan’s largest source of vegetables, mostly comprised of fresh or chilled beans. Import of beans from Oman covered around 90% of Japan’s beans imports from over the world, which remained almost steady in 2011 at $5.1m. Among other imports from Oman, a notable new item of import was Iron & steel scraps valuing at $8.2m. Japan’s Import of aluminium from Oman showed a small recovery from the last year’s slump, but still much short of figures for 2009, from which Japan started to import aluminium from Oman.
The value of Japan’s trade with Bahrain in 2011 remained nearly the same as last year, in spite of a 20% slump in Japan’s exports to that country, thanks to an increase in the value of her imports. Total trade was valued at nearly $1.2bn, compared to $1.3bn in the previous year. Japan’s exports to Bahrain declined 20.06% to $471m, against $589.3m in 2010. In line with the general trend, Japan’s motor vehicle exports to Bahrain, especially of passenger cars, slipped by 22.27% to $310.8m from $399.9m in 2010. Though export of general machinery as a whole declined by 14.83%, export of transmission products, pipes, taps and valves etc., and trucks with lifts has shown considerable increase.
Export of electrical machinery saw a decline of 41.89% caused by lower exports of electrical appliances for switching or protecting, and also of carbon electrodes. However, major expansion in exports were registered for the export of lighting or signalling equipment, insulating cable and wire, electric motors, line telephone appliances etc.
Japan’s mineral fuel import from Bahrain was limited to light oils as it completely stopped importing crude oils from that country during 2011. Japan used to import small quantities of crude oils and petroleum gases from Bahrain in the previous years. The value of import of light oils increased 41.99% to $694.1m in 2011, which covered over 86% of Japan’s overall imports from Bahrain. The remaining portion of imports was covered by aluminium, seafood and glassware. Japan imported nearly 6.7 million barrels of light oils from Bahrain in 2011, compared to 6 million barrels in 2010.
Japan had been a traditional importer of aluminium from Bahrain in the form of unwrought aluminium and unwrought aluminium alloys. However, the quantity of aluminium import from Bahrain in 2011 declined considerably. The value of aluminium imports declined by 73.22% to $18.6m in 2011, compared to $69.5m in 2010.
In the seafood category, import of crustaceans (crab), the 3rd largest commodity of import from Bahrain, after mineral fuels and aluminium, grew by 27.08% in 2011 to $5.4m against $4.3m in 2010.
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