Kuwait’s trade surplus with Japan shrank 66.2 percent from a year earlier, to JPY 17.5 billion (USD 164 million) in June, falling for the 13th month in a row, as exports declined more than half, the Japanese Finance Ministry said Monday.

But Kuwait maintained monthly black ink with Japan for eight years and five months, the ministry said, in a preliminary report.

Kuwaiti overall exports to Japan plunged 54.5 percent year-on-year to JPY 32.2 billion (USD 303 million) for the 13th straight monthly drop, and imports from Japan also decreased 23.0 percent to JPY 14.7 billion (USD 138 million), down for the first time in two months.

Middle East’s trade surplus with Japan also narrowed by 42.8 percent to JPY 320.5 billion (USD 3.0 billion) last month, with Japan-bound exports tumbling 34.7 percent from a year earlier. Crude oil, refined products, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and other natural resources, which accounted for 94.6 percent of the region’s total exports to Japan, slid 35.2 percent. The region’s overall imports from Japan declined 17.8 percent, chiefly due to weak shipments of vehicle, steel and machinery.

Japan’s global trade balance returned to surplus in June, reflecting a continued decline in energy prices, though both exports and imports declined. The world’s third-biggest economy posted the first trade black ink in two months at JPY 692.8 billion (USD 6.5 billion) last month. Overall exports fell 7.4 percent from the year before. Imports decreased 18.8 percent, with value of crude oil plunging 31.2 percent due to low prices. Deficit with China, Japan’s biggest trade partner, slid 19.0 percent to 335.1 billion yen (USD 3.2 billion).

The trade data are measured on a customs-cleared basis before adjustment for seasonal factors.