Nov. 1 (UPI) -- For the first time in two months, the economy in Japan took on more crude oil from Kuwait, posting a gain of more than 20 percent from last year, data show.
The official Kuwait News Agency, known also as KUNA, reported total exports to Japan in September at an average of 274,000 barrels per day, the first increase in two months and a 20.5 percent gain from the same time last year.
Saudi Arabia is the No. 1 oil supplier to Japan, with exports of 1.18 million bpd marking a 14.6 percent increase. The United Arab Emirates is second, with year-on-year exports to Japan up 1.1 percent to 843,000 bpd.
Kuwait is Japan's third-largest supplier of crude oil. The export data came as Shinzo Abe secured another term as Japanese prime minister.
Japanese ministers took part in an energy summit last month for members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. A joint statement issued from the meeting in the Philippines said coal remained a major fuel source in the region and ministers said they were committed to so-called clean-coal technology as part of the broader move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ministers also said civilian nuclear energy could be a low-carbon driver. Japan's nuclear power sector was idled by the meltdown at its Fukushima facility in 2011 and Moody's said only five of the remaining 42 reactors have restarted.
An island nation, Japan relies heavily on imports to meet its oil and natural gas needs. Early this week, the Japanese Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry said the assessment of regional economic momentum was static across the country.
"The assessment of the national economic situation remains the same as that in the previous quarter," the ministry stated. "It is 'improving moderately.'"
Japan's Central Bank said Wednesday the road ahead points to moderate expansion.
"Through fiscal 2018, domestic demand is likely to follow an uptrend, with a virtuous cycle from income to spending being maintained in both the corporate and household sectors, on the back of highly accommodative financial conditions and fiscal spending through the government's large-scale stimulus measures," the bank said.