• Kyodo News

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Crude oil imports rose in March for the first time in two months, climbing 6.4 percent to 125.11 million barrels, the Natural Resources and Energy Agency said Friday.

Oil shipments from the Middle East accounted for 88.9 percent of total imports, down 1.2 points from the previous year, the agency under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report.

Saudi Arabia remained Japan’s biggest supplier, exporting 36.48 million barrels, up 0.3 percent. The United Arab Emirates was the second-biggest, with 29.31 million barrels, up 23.7 percent, followed by Qatar with 15.41 million barrels, up 5.5 percent.

Output of petroleum products fell 2.4 percent to 17.51 million kiloliters for the second consecutive monthly decline. One kiloliter equals 6.29 barrels.

Domestic sales of petroleum products were up 0.3 percent to 17.74 million kiloliters, marking the third straight monthly gain.

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