The Jakarta Post
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said on Thursday that the large amount of oil and gas imported in October was needed for manufacturing industries to produce more export-oriented products.
“[The problem], I think, is that we exported less, especially from the non-oil-and-gas sector,” he said on Thursday in response data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS) showing a trade deficit in October.
BPS announced on Thursday that, nominally, oil and gas imports rose 31.78 percent in October to US$2.91 billion compared to the same period last year.
However, in volume, oil and gas imports declined 4.47 percent on October to 4.29 million tons from 4.49 million tons in the same month last year.
Jonan explained that other countries were different.
“Do you know that Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and China have higher imports of oil and gas in volume than us? But their exports are much greater than ours. That kind of achievement is what we must take as an example,” he added.
The deficit was $1.82 billion in October, the second-highest deficit this year after a five-year high deficit of $2.03 billion in July. With the latest data, Indonesia’s year-to-date trade deficit in 2018 amounted to $5.51 billion, with surpluses only seen in March, June and September. (bbn)