The Jakarta Post
The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) has warned the government about the trade deficit.
“The February trade deficit was lower than in January, but it needs serious attention because it occurred for three consecutive months,” said BPS head Suhariyanto in Jakarta on Thursday.
BPS announced that Indonesia booked a US$116 million trade deficit in February, bringing the deficit year-on-year to $872 million after Indonesia had enjoyed trade surpluses in the last three years.
The trade deficit was recorded at $760 million in January and $220 million in December 2017.
Suhariyanto said total imports in February were recorded at US$14.21 billion, while total exports were $14.10 billion.
He advised the government to diversify its export destinations, not only to rely on basic commodities and to encourage industry to manufacture export-oriented products so that Indonesia could export more value-added goods.
“If we fail to do this we will be left behind by neighboring countries like Vietnam,” he said, as reported by tempo.
However, Bank Indonesia (BI) said the increase in imports was an indication that the country’s economic machine was working.
“The trade deficit was caused by an increase of production activities and investments in line with the improvement in the domestic economy,” said BI spokesman Agusman, as reported by kontan.co.id.
He expressed optimism that the Indonesian trade performance would improve in the coming months in line with the global economic recovery. (bbn).