Furniture exports expected
to fall 40%

Indonesia's furniture exports may plunge by about 40 percent by the end of 2009, the Indonesian Craft and Furniture Producers Association (Asmindo) said Friday.

Asmindo chairman Ambar Tjahyono said the global economic crisis had drastically reduced overseas demand for furniture from Indonesia.

"During the first half of this year, our exports dropped more than 50 percent. After July, foreign furniture demand increased slightly," Ambar told The Jakarta Post.

During 2008, furniture exports fetched US$2.65 billion while domestic sales brought in $700 million, Ambar said.

"Unlike the export market, our domestic sales are relatively stable and not heavily affected by the economic downturn," he said.

The Indonesian furniture industry is highly dependent on exports, Ambar said.

"The global crisis dealt a heavy blow to many furniture businesses and their workers," he said.

In 2008, Amindo represented more than 4,700 furniture companies, 2,000 of which were exporters, employing about 8 million workers, Ambar said.

Due to the drop in foreign demand, about 100 furniture companies in Jepara and Surakarta in Central Java were now suffering and faced closures, he said.

"We also estimate the number of workers employed in the furniture and craft industry will fall by about 1 million people," Ambar said. (bbs)

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