The high growth in Japan’s exports to the GCC countries was mainly attributed to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of vehicle and vehicle parts production facilities in the earthquake and tsunami hit areas of North-East Japan, and partly to the gradual strengthening of GCC economies that were earlier weakened by the bad effects of the global financial crisis of 2008.
Japan’s major exports to the GCC countries in 2012 were motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, electronics, iron & steel materials, rubber products, plastic products and textiles. 58.8% of the total exports were covered by motor vehicles, which grew by 46.1% in 2012 compared to the previous year. Though exports of machinery and equipment, and rubber products registered a marginal decline, export of iron and steel materials showed a remarkable increase.
The moderately high growth in the value of Japan’s imports from the GCC countries was the result of an increase in the price as well as the volume of mineral fuels that Japan imported during the year. Japan experienced increased demand for mineral fuels to substitute the lost electric power caused by the shutdown of nuclear plants across Japan, since the recent earthquake and the tsunami. In March 2011, a tsunami, caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, damaged the Fukushima Nuclear Electric Plant, prompting the authorities to suspend the functioning of almost all the nuclear plants in the country, for severe inspections on safety requirements and also for regular maintenance. This situation necessitated Japan to increase the import of mineral fuels, especially gaseous hydrocarbons, to compensate the loss of electric power from stopped power plants. In addition to the above circumstances, the American sanctions on crude oil import from Iran have also made Japan rely more on GCC oil and gas supplies. And, as a result of all these, in 2012, Japan’s trade deficit with the GCC countries increased by 7.5% to $132.2bn from $123bn in 2011.
Japan’s major exports to the GCC
Japan’s motor vehicle exports to the GCC countries surged 46.1% to $14.7bn in 2012 from $10.0bn, in 2011. This increase was against a 13.7% decline in 2011 compared to the exports in 2010. Resumption of production of automobiles and parts in the earthquake and tsunami hit areas of Japan had greatly helped the recovery in exports. The share of motor vehicles in the total exports to the GCC rose to 58.8% in 2012 from 51.1% in 2011.
Export of passenger motor cars rose by 55.5% to $10.5bn in 2012, from $6.7bn in the previous year. UAE was Japan’s top export destination for motor vehicles among the GCC countries, and the 6th largest export market in the world. Saudi Arabia followed UAE as the 2nd largest market in the GCC and 7th largest in the world. For luxury passenger cars over 3000 cc, UAE and Saudi Arabia were Japan’s 2nd and 3rd largest markets respectively in the world. For passenger cars in general, and for luxury cars, the US was Japan’s top export destination.
Exports of transport vehicles such as trucks and busses, and parts and accessories as well, have shown considerable increase during the year. Export of motor trucks surged by 46% to $2.2bn in 2012 from $1.5bn in 2011, and public transport busses to $930.5m from $730m. For motor trucks, Saudi Arabia topped among the GCC market for Japan, and the 2nd position was held by the UAE. Taking the world as a whole, Saudi Arabia and the UAE held the 4th and 5th positions among Japan’s top markets for Motor trucks. For the export of public transport busses, UAE was the top market for Japan among the GCC countries and the 2nd largest market in the word. Sultanate of Oman stood at the 2nd position among the GCC counties and at the 3rd position in the world.
The value of Japan’s machinery exports to the GCC countries declined by 2.3% in 2012 to $3.39bn from $3.47bn in 2011. This marginal decline was mainly attributed to a slide in the exports of air or vacuum pumps, ship derricks, heat treatment machinery and marine propulsion engines. However, considerable increases in exports were registered for liquid pumps, self-propelled bulldozers, angledozers and graders. Export of trucks fitted with lifts had also registered a remarkable increase. A notable decline in Japan’s machinery exports to her immediate neighbours like China, South Korea and Taiwan, and to a lesser extend to some of the European countries like Netherland, Germany and France lead to a 7.5% decline in the value of Japan’s general machinery exports in 2012.
Export of electrical machinery in 2012 remained at the same level of the previous year, with value recorded at $1.1bn. While notable increases were recorded for transformers, generators, electrical boards and panels etc., considerable decreases in exports were marked for transmission apparatus, line telephone apparatus, television receivers and vacuum cleaners.
Iron & Steel:
A 42.2% increase in the export of iron and steel products was recorded in 2012, with a value of $2.4bn, in the place of $1.7bn of exports in the previous year. Export of different kinds of pipes, tubes and pipe fittings increased by 33.2% to $739.4m in 2012, from $554.9m in 2011. Another item in the iron & steel category that showed a major increase in exports was flat hot-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, which grew by 33.9% to $846.2m in 2012 from $632.2m in the previous year.
Another major commodity of export to the GCC countries was rubber products, comprised mainly of new tyres. Out of the total export of $1.18bn worth of rubber products, $1.04bn was the share of news tyres. UAE was the number one destination for Japan among the GCC countries, and the 4th largest market in the world for tyres. Japan’s other top markets in the world for tires were USA, Australia and Russia ahead of the UAE, in the order of the value of export.
Japan’s textile exports to the GCC countries rose 20.6% to $351.4m in 2012 from $291.3m in 2011. GCC countries have traditionally been a major market for Japanese textiles, mainly woven fabrics of man-made staple fibre and man-made filament fibre. Though, Japan’s textile exports to the GCC countries did not expand much in comparison with the growth of her exports of motor vehicles, electronics or other machinery and equipment, she maintained her powerful presence in the market throughout the past two or three decades. The increase registered in the past 10 years is 88.1% from $186.8m in 2003 to $351.4 in 2012. UAE was Japan’s top export market for textiles among the GCC countries, exporting nearly 57% of the total textile exports to the GCC countries in 2012.
Japan’s major imports from the GCC countries
Crude oils remained to be the dominant commodity of Japan’s imports from the GCC countries, covering 74.4% of the total imports. Including petroleum gases and other petroleum products, the share of mineral fuels reached 98.9% of the total imports in 2012.
The value of Japan’ crude oil imports from the GCC countries rose by 7.7% to $115.8bn in 2012, from $107.5bn in 2011. In terms of volume, Japan’s crude oils imports from the GCC rose 3.1% in 2012 to 1,018.3m barrels, from 987.7m barrels in 2011. The average price of crude oil imported from the GCC countries also rose by 4.5% to $113.72 per barrel in 2012 from $108.86 per barrel in the previous year. Japan’s total crude oil imports from the world over was 1,336.3m barrels in 2012, valued at $152.9bn, compared to 1,301.9m barrels in 2011 valued at UD $ 142.1bn.
The volume of petroleum gases imported from the GCC countries surged 14.4% to 36.0m tons, in spite of an increase in its price by nearly 11%. The average price of petroleum gases surged to $885.28 per ton in 2012, compared to $799.21 per ton in 2011, making the total value of gas imports from the GCC countries $31.9bn in 2012. Japan also imported nearly 76m barrels of oil products from the GCC countries in 2012, at a cost of $7.8bn.
Major crude oils suppliers of Japan
Saudi Arabia remained as Japan’s top supplier of crude oils in 2012, with a value of $50.3bn, and a share of 32.9% 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 $33.4bn, and a share of 21.9%. The GCC countries jointly supplied 75.7% of Japan’s total crude oil requirements in 2012, cementing the GCC block’s position as Japan’s crucial partner in her energy security. Other major suppliers of crude oils to Japan were Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Russia, Indonesia and Oman.
GCC has also been a major source of gaseous hydrocarbons for Japan, and in 2012, Japan imported petroleum gases worth $31.9bn from the GCC countries. Qatar was the top supplier of gas to Japan, supplying $17.8bn worth of petroleum gases, more than the value of its crude oil supplies to Japan. 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 imported from the GCC countries in 2012 increased by 10.8% to $885.28 per ton, from $799.21per ton in 2011. GCC’s supply of petroleum gases to Japan covered 36.3% of Japan’s total import of petroleum gases in 2012, compared to 35.3% in 2011. Besides Qatar, the other major suppliers of gases to Japan were Australia, Malaysia, UAE, Russia, Indonesia, Brunei etc. The total value of Japan’s gas imports from the world over stood at $88.02bn in 2012. While UAE was the 4th largest supplier of petroleum gas to Japan in 2012, Oman and Saudi Arabia among the GCC countries, stood at the 10th and 11th positions respectively.
Japan’s Aluminium imports from the GCC
Japan’s aluminium import from the GCC countries grew by 8.6% to $667.7m in 2012 from $614.8m in 2011. UAE was Japan’s top supplier of aluminium among the GCC countries, and the 4th largest supplier of Japan in the world, exporting aluminium worth $552.5m in 2012. Aluminium import from Qatar – the second largest supplier of aluminium to Japan among the GCC countries – increased 65.5% to $76.3m in 2012. Import of aluminium from Bahrain, once a leading supplier to Japan, was down by 7.4% to $17.2m in 2012 from $18.6m in 2011. Japan’s aluminium import from Bahrain was worth $69.5m in 2010 and $91.3m in 2008. The share of GCC as a whole in Japan’s aluminium imports from the world over was 8.1% in 2012, in the place of 6.7% in 2011.
Japan imported a total of 3.09m tons of aluminium from the world over, at a cost of $8.3bn in 2012, compared to 3.1m tons at $9.2bn in 2011. The decline in the import value was attributed to a 10.9% decline in the average price of aluminium in 2012 compared to the average price in the previous year. Average price was down to $2.68 per kg in 2012 from $3.01 per kg in 2011. China was the top supplier of aluminium to Japan in 2012, followed by Russia, Australia, UAE, Brazil, New Zealand, USA, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea.
General trend in Japan-GCC trade – by Country
Saudi Arabia: Japan’s largest trading partner in the GCC
Saudi Arabia was Japan’s largest trading partner among the GCC countries and the top supplier of crude oils to Japan. Japan – Saudi Arabia trade increased 10.4% to $62.99bn in 2012, mainly due to a major increase in Japan’s motor vehicle exports to Saudi, and partly due to an increase in the price and volume of Japan’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia. Japan’s motor vehicle exports to Saudi Arabia surged by 45.8% to $4.06bn in 2012 from $2.78bn in 2011. Japan’s export of iron & steel materials and iron and steel products rose 41.15% to $1.2bn from $859m in the previous year.
Saudi Arabia was Japan’s top supplier of crude oils in the world, supplying Japan with $50.3bn worth of crude oils in 2012. Japan imported a total of 441m barrels of crude oils from Saudi Arabia in 2012, 2.36% higher in volume compared to the previous year. The average price of crude oil rose by 4.74% to $114.00 per barrel in the place of $108.84 per barrel in 2011. A 50% jump was also registered in Japan’s import of oil products from Saudi Arabia, i,e. from $1.2bn in 2011 to $1.8bn in 2012. The volume of petroleum gas imports from Saudi Arabia rose by 5.01% to 2m tons in 2012, in spite of an average price increase of more than 10%. The average price of petroleum gases rose to $976.30 per ton in 2012 from $887.20 per ton in 2011.
UAE: Japan’s largest export market among the GCC countries
The value of Japan’s trade with the UAE grew 5.2% to $52.9bn in 2012, from $50.3bn in 2011. Japan’s exports to the UAE increased by 19.9% to $8.96bn and imports by 2.6% to $43.98bn. UAE was Japan’s largest export destination among the GCC countries in 2012, covering a share of 35.90% of Japan’s total exports to the GCC. Japan’s motor vehicle exports to the UAE, the driving force behind the steep rise in the value of export, grew by 41.5% to $4.49bn, from $3.17bn in the previous year. Among motor vehicles, export of public transport busses grew by 80.9% to $320.6m from $177.2m in the previous year. Likewise, export of motor trucks also grew by 59.3% to $770.9m from $483.8m. However, Japan’s machinery exports to the UAE, both general machinery and electrical machinery, registered a combined decline of 6.17% to $2.13bn in 2012 from $2.27bn in 2011. At the same time, a 35% increase was registered in the export of iron and steel products, which were valued at $853.6m in 2012.
Japan’s crude oil import from the UAE was valued at $33.4bn, covering nearly 22% of the total value of her crude oil imports from the world over. In terms of volume, the crude oil imports dropped by around 3% to 292m barrels from nearly 301m barrels in the previous year. However, the value of Japan’s import of petroleum gases from the UAE surged 15.23% to $8.1bn in 2012, from $7bn in 2011. UAE remained to be the 2nd largest supplier of crude oils to Japan after Saudi Arabia.
Another major item of Japan’s import from the UAE was semi-finished aluminium that rose by 18% to $553.2m in 2012 from $543.5million in 2011. Japan imported a total of 242.75m Kg of aluminium from the UAE in 2012, in the place of 205.64m Kg in the previous year. The import price of aluminium registered a 13.6% decline in 2012 to $2.28 per Kg from $2.64 per Kg in 2011.
Qatar: The largest supplier of petroleum gases to Japan
Japan’s trade with the state of Qatar , the 3rd largest trading partner of Japan among the GCC countries, surged 19.82% to $37.4bn in 2012 from $31.2bn in the previous year. Exports surged 47.09% to $1.50bn in 2012, compared to $1.02bn in 2011. Major exports were motor vehicles that jumped 84.55% to $1.1bn dollars from $610.7m in the previous year. Export of passenger motor cars more than doubled in 2012 to $961.8m from $463.8m in 2011. While general machinery exports grew by 48.43% to $221m, export of iron and steel materials grew 92.87% to $39.4m. At the same time, export of electrical machinery recorded a steep decline of 73.86% to $20.3m in 2012, from $77.8m in 2011.
Mineral fuels constituted 99.63% of Japan’s total imports from Qatar, valuing at $35.7bn, an 18.90% increase compared to the value in the previous year. Qatar was Japan’s top supplier of petroleum gases, supplying gases worth of $17.78bn in 2012. Japan increased her gas imports following the stoppage of electricity production at her various nuclear plants due to the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, and Qatar was a major source of the additional supply of gas to Japan. Compared with the previous year, the value of gas import from Qatar grew 34.38% in 2012. Qatar was also Japan’s 3rd largest supplier of crude oil, supplying crude oil worth 16.21bn during the same year. Considerable increase was also registered in the import of aluminium from Qatar, raising the value from $46.1m in 2011 to $76.3m in 2012.
The value of Japan’s trade with Kuwait increased 17.96% to $17.1bn in 2012, compared to $14.5bn in 2011. Japan – Kuwait trade was dominated by Japan’s import of hydrocarbons from Kuwait, that covered 89% of the total trade. Japan’s exports to Kuwait surged 38.39% to $1.9bn in 2012, against $1.4bn in the previous year. This increase was mainly attributed to a major expansion in the export of motor vehicles to Kuwait, especially of higher capacity luxury passenger cars. Export value of passenger cars of 3000 cc or above surged by 68.3% to $1,241.3m, in the place of $737.5m in the previous year. Considerable increase was also seen in the export of general machinery and textile goods. Export value of air/vacuum pumps registered a remarkable increase of 186% to reach $50.2m in 2012 from $17.6m in 2011
Japan’s import from Kuwait, comprising 99.97% by mineral fuels, rose by 15.85% to $15.2bn in 2012, compared to $13.1bn in the previous year. Value of Japan’s crude oil imports rose 21.67% to $11.5bn, and petroleum gases by 25% to $1.7bn in 2012. Japan imported a total of 102.4m barrels of crude oils from Kuwait, 16.09% higher in volume, compared to the volume of import in 2011. The volume of gas import also rose by 19% during the year.
Japan’s trade with the Sultanate of Oman grew 31.5%, to US$ 10.5bn in 2012, the highest growth in Japan’s trade with any other GCC country. This steep rise in the two-way trade was attributed mainly to an increase in the volume of crude oil imports from Oman, and partly to increases in Japan’s exports of motor vehicles and iron and steel materials to that country. While motor vehicle exports grew 29.5% to $2.94bn, export of iron & steel products, consisting of tubes and pipes for the oil industry, grew by more than 500% to $142m. Exports of new tyres also grew by 18.2% to $73.7m from $62.4m in 2011. Japan’s exports of machinery, both general and electrical, recorded a small decline in 2012.
Japan’s crude oil imports from Oman surged 28.3% in terms of volume, in spite of an average 7.7% increase in its price. Japan imported a total of 38.5m barrels of crude oils from Oman in 2012 at a cost of $4.34bn, compared to 30m barrels at $3.2bn, in 2011. Average import price of crude oil grew to $112.82 per barrel from $105.37 per barrel in the previous year. Japan’s petroleum gas imports from Oman grew by 27.3% to $2.4bn in 2012, from $1.9bn in 20111. A spectacular surge in the import of aluminium was also witnessed in 2012, with the import value increasing to $17.5m from just $2.9m in the previous year.
In addition to the increases in Japan’s import of oil and gas, considerable increases in the import of fish/seafood, aluminium and vegetables were also recorded in 2012. Oman has been the top supplier of fresh or chilled beans to Japan for the past many years. Similarly, import of frozen fish and other seafood also rose by 43.12% to $18.5m in 2012 from $12.9m in 2011.
The value of Japan’s trade with Bahrain increased 7.26% to $1.3bn in 2012, in spite of a decline in Japan’s import of mineral fuels from that country. The increase in trade was fuelled by increased export of motor vehicles, which more than doubled in 2012, compared to the previous year. Export of passenger cars grew by 125.6% to $527.4m, compared to $233.8m in the previous year. Export of trucks and busses had also posted considerable increases. Though export of electrical machinery declined 29.4% to $22.4m from $31.7m, export of general machinery grew by 8.3% to $70.3m from $64.9m. Export of iron & steel products/materials grew by 73.5% to $9.1m in 2012, compared to $5.2m in 20111.
Japan’s mineral fuel import from Bahrain was limited to light oils as it completely stopped importing crude oils from that country since 2011. The value of import of light oils, however, declined by 35.8% to $445.7m in 2012, from $694.1m in 2011. Japan’s other imports from Bahrain were aluminium, glassware, and small quantities of fish and other seafood.
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