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Jakarta Post

Indonesia posts historic $8.57 billion deficit

  • Rachmadea Aisyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, January 15, 2019   /   01:35 pm
Indonesia posts historic $8.57 billion deficit Aerial view of Tanjung Priok Port with container ships. (Shutterstock.com/Creativa Images)

Indonesia’s full-year trade balance hit a deep deficit of US$8.57 billion in 2018.

The figure was the largest deficit recorded since 1975 and a stark contrast to the results in 2017 and 2016, when the trade balance recorded surpluses of $11.84 billion and $9.48 billion, respectively, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) said on Tuesday.

Annual exports went up by 6.65 percent year-on-year (yoy) to $180.06 billion, helped by a 6.25 percent yoy non-oil and gas export increase.

However, imports grew by 20.15 percent to $188.6 billion, including a 19.71 percent increase in non-oil and gas imports and a 22.6 percent increase in oil and gas imports.

BPS head Suhariyanto blamed slowing economies in Indonesia’s two main trade partners, China and the United States, for the unfortunate results, pointing out that the two countries made up over 25 percent of Indonesia’s total export market. 

“As always, we have to keep striving in the future to diversify our products and [export] markets so that our exports will improve in the coming years,” Suhariyanto told the press, acknowledging that the challenge might just become harder in 2019 because of the continuing global economic slowdown.