The Jakarta Post
Indonesia's trade balance is showing signs of recovery as the country recorded a US$329.5 million surplus in February, thanks to a steep drop in imports.
The figure marks a turnaround from a trade deficit of $1.06 billion booked in January, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported on Friday.
Exports actually declined by 10.03 percent month-to-month (mtm) to $12.53 billion in February, driven by a 9.85 percent mtm decline in non-oil and gas exports to $11.44 billion and an 11.85 percent decline in oil and gas exports to $1.09 billion.
However, imports dropped much more, falling by 18.61 percent mtm to $12.2 billion, thanks to a 20.14 percent mtm decline in non-oil and gas imports to $10.6 billion and a 6.28 percent mtm decline in oil and gas imports to $1.55 billion.
BPS head Suhariyanto said declines were recorded in all import categories. Consumer goods imports had dropped by 18.77 percent mtm, followed by imports of raw and auxiliary materials and capital goods at 7.6 percent mtm and 2.32 percent mtm, respectively.
"Based on the trade balance [pattern] since 2017, monthly exports always go down in February because there are fewer days in the calendar [which affects productivity]," Suhariyanto told a press briefing. "Nevertheless, the decline in imports likely [reflects] a positive performance from the government's commitment to control imports through its policies."
He warned, however, that this year would not go easy on the country's trade balance, especially with external factors such as a global slowdown in growth as well as the trade war between the United States and China, Indonesia's top two trade partners.
"This surplus is good news as it influences economic growth in the first quarter," said Suhariyanto. (bbn)