UAE-Japan trade drops 3.6% to Dh187bn

Japan’s imports from UAE stood at Dh156b while exports reached Dh31.2bn last year

Bilateral trade between the UAE and Japan dropped 3.6 per cent in 2013 due to fall in oil prices and less imports of machinery and other products by the emirates, according to the latest data released by the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro), a Japanese government organization that promotes trade and investment.

A combination of factors, including the drop in the average price of crude oils, a sharp fall in the volume of import of light oils, and a decline in Japan’s export of machinery, iron & steel etc. to the UAE have brought the overall trade down by 3.6 per cent to $51.03 billion (Dh187.28 billion) in 2013, against $52.9 billion (Dh194.14 billion) in the previous year.

While the value of Japan’s imports from the UAE stood at $42.5 billion (Dh156 billion), which was 3.3 per cent lower than the value in 2012, her exports to the UAE stood at $8.5 billion (Dh31.2 billion), 5.1 per cent lower from the previous year, Jetro said.

In the overall trade, UAE was Japan’s 8th largest trading partner in the world in 2013, behind China, US, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

By meeting nearly 23 per cent of the total crude oil requirements of Japan, UAE remained to be Japan’s 2nd largest supplier of crude oils after Saudi Arabia, which covered 31.83 per cent of Japan’s total crude oil imports.

Japan’s major exports to the UAE

Japan’s major exports to the UAE were motor vehicles, general machinery, electrical machinery, iron and steel, rubber products, textiles, plastic products, beverages and glass products. However, sluggishness in the export of machinery and iron and steel products in 2013 reduced the value of Japan’s exports to the UAE by 5.14 per cent to $8.5 billion from $8.9 billion in the previous year.

Albeit, the major category of Japan’s exports – automobiles - remained stable and registered an increase by 3.23 per cent to $4.64 billion, compared to $4.49 billion in the previous year. The coverage of vehicle exports from Japan to the UAE rose to 54.56 per cent of the total exports in 2013, which was 50.16 per cent in 2012 and 42.52 per cent in 2011.

Exports of passenger motor cars, the largest single component of exports to the UAE from Japan, rose by 5.27 per cent to $3 billion in 2013, from $2.926 billion in the previous year.

Among the passenger motor cars, export of higher capacity passenger cars - above 3,000 cc – increased by nearly 8 per cent to $2.244 billion from $2 billion. Export of motor trucks rose by 2.73 per cent to $791 million from $770 million. A notable surge in the export of small trucks of less than 5 tonnes capacity was registered in 2013, with a growth rate of 15 per cent to $227 million from $197 million in the previous year.

UAE was the 7th largest vehicles export market for Japan in 2013 and the only country that saw an increase in exports of motor vehicles from among her top 20 export markets for motor vehicles in the world.

US remained to be the top market of Japanese vehicles, valuing nearly $50 billion in 2013, although the value was 1.9 per cent less compared to the value in 2012. China remained at a distant 2nd position with a value of $12.5 billion, 7.5 per cent less than the value in 2012. Australia, Russia, Thailand and Canada occupied 3rd to 6th positions respectively.

The value of general machinery exported to the UAE declined by nearly 20 per cent to $1.2 billion in 2013, from $1.5 billion in the previous year.

Major items that showed a decrease in exports were bulldozers, ship derricks, liquid pumps and air pumps.

At the same time, some of the items that showed an increase in exports were printing machinery, computers and their parts.

Export of electrical goods fell by nearly 28 per cent to reach $445 million in 2013 from $616 million in the previous year.

Major items that fell in exports were electrical transmission apparatus, insulated cables and wires, carbon electrodes, electrical generating sets etc. On the other side, exports of ignition equipment for generators, electrical switches, storage batteries etc. showed considerable increase in exports.

Some of the other goods that saw a reasonable increase in exports were plastic products, textiles of man-made staple fibers, organic chemicals, mineral fuels, precious stones and metals, and photographic and cinematographic materials.

Items that posted a decline in exports were iron and steel products, rubber products such as new tyres, textiles of man-made filament fibres, stones, plasters and cement etc.

Japan’s imports from the UAE

Mineral fuels formed 98.5 per cent of Japan’s imports from the UAE in 2013. The remaining small portion was comprised of semi-finished aluminium, scrap metals, precious stones and metals, electrical machinery, readymade garments, plastics, backing related goods, perfumes and cosmetics. The value of imports from the UAE fell by 3.3 per cent to $42.53 billion in 2013, from $43.31 billion in 2012. UAE was Japan’s 5th largest supplier of products in general, covering 5.11 per cent of her total imports.

The value of Japan’s crude oil imports from the UAE fell by 0.49 per cent to $33.28 billion in 2013, compared to $33.44 billion in 2012.

This amounts to 79.39 per cent of the total value of Japan’s imports from the UAE in 2013. However, in terms of volume, Japan’s crude oil imports from UAE increased by 3.23 per cent to 301.43 million barrels in 2013, compared to 291.99 million barrels in 2012. The average price of crude oils imported from the UAE decreased by 3.61 per cent to $110.40 per barrel in 2013, in the place of $114.53 per barrel in 2012.

UAE remained to be the 2nd largest supplier of crude oils to Japan, supplying 22.84 per cent of Japan’s total crude oil imports during the whole year.

Japan’s total import of crude oils from the world over was amounted to 1.328 billion barrels in 2013, compared to 1.336 billion barrels in 2012, a decrease of 0.59 per cent. Saudi Arabia remained to be Japan’s top supplier of crude oils in 2013, supplying Japan with a total of 422.9 million barrels of crude oils.

Beside crude oils, Japan imported petroleum gases and light oils in large quantities from the UAE. Total value of gas imports from the UAE fell by 8.2 per cent in 2013 to $7.44 billion from $8.10 billion in 2012.

Major among the different petroleum gases that Japan imported from the UAE were Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), of which, the value stood at $4.74 billion 2013.

Other categories of gas imports were Liquefied Propane and Liquefied Butane gases.

In terms of volume, the total import of gases from the UAE in 2013 fell by 4.6 per cent to 8.39 million tonnes in the place of 8.79 million tonnes in the previous year.

However, light oil imports registered a decrease of around 32 per cent to $1.90 billion compared to $2.80 billion in the previous year. UAE was Japan’s 4th largest supplier of gases, covering nearly 18 per cent of Japan’s total gas requirements during 2013. The other major gas suppliers to Japan were Qatar, Australia and Malaysia in the order of volume.

Semi-finished aluminium - Japan’s 2nd major commodity of import from the UAE after mineral fuels, posted a 6.54 per cent decrease in terms of value and 3.9 per cent in terms of volume. The total value of aluminium imports from the UAE stood at $516.97 million in 2013, compared to $553.17 million in 2012. The total volume of aluminium imports stood at 232.63 million kg in 2013, against 242.42 million kg in 2012. The average price of aluminium imported from the UAE fell by 2.76 per cent to $2.22 per kg in 2013, from $2.28 per kg in 2012.

Japan’s aluminium imports from the world over stood at $7.68 billion in 2013 compared to $8.28 billion in 2012, and in terms of volume, the import was 2.87 million tonnes in 2013, against 3.09 million tonnes in the previous year, a 7.3 per cent decline.

UAE was Japan’s 4th largest supplier of aluminium in 2013 after Australia, Russia and China.

Though in small quantities, Japan’s other imports from the UAE included copper scraps, precious stones and metals, electrical machinery, textile and plastic articles, perfumes and cosmetics and baking related materials during 2013.

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