TOKYO, 29th February, 2016 (WAM) — Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan grew 4.4 percent in January from a year earlier to 8.26 million barrels, or 266,000 barrels per day (bpd), for the first increase in two months, government data showed Monday.

As Japan’s fourth-biggest oil provider, Kuwait supplied 7.8 percent of the Asian nation’s total crude imports, the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report, carried by KUNA.

Japan’s overall imports of crude oil declined 2.5 percent year-on-year to 3.40 million bpd for the second straight month of drop. Shipments from the Middle East accounted for 87.1 percent of the total, up 6.8 percentage points from the year before.

Saudi Arabia remained Japan’s No.1 oil supplier, with imports from the kingdom surging 24.8 percent from a year earlier to 1.32 million bpd, followed by the United Arab Emirates with 854,000 bpd, down 2.1 percent. Qatar ranked third with 278,000 bpd and Russia fifth with 211,000 bpd, respectively.

Japan is the world’s-third biggest oil consumer after the US and China.