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Jakarta Post

April's trade deficit is tough challenge, Sri Mulyani says

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, May 16, 2019   /   02:34 pm
April's trade deficit is tough challenge, Sri Mulyani says Cranes load and unload shipping containers at the Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) in Tanjung Priok, North Jakarta. (Antara/Dhemas Reviyanto)

The government has acquiesced to the tough challenge the current economic condition poses, after Statistics Indonesia (BPS) on Tuesday announced an April trade deficit of Rp 2.5 billion, the worst since 2013.

“It is not an easy challenge for us,” Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in Jakarta as quoted by kontan.co.id, adding that both exports and imports had contracted deeply because of the continuing trade war between the United States and China.

In citing BPS data, Sri Mulyani said that imports had declined 6.58 percent, while exports declined more deeply with 13.10 percent.

Under such conditions, “It is unlikely to rely on exports as engine of growth,” she stressed.

Sri Mulyani was also particularly concerned about the year-on-year decline in exports of both raw materials (6.28 percent) and capital goods (8.68 percent), as they indicated a slowdown in the manufacturing industry.

Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia spokesman Onny Widjanarko attributed the widening trade deficit to the global economic situation. He concurred that it was triggered by the prolonged US-China trade war.

BPS data shows a non-oil and gas trade deficit of US$1.01 billion in April, following the $1.05 billion surplus it posted in March.  Meanwhile, oil and gas recorded a trade deficit of $1.49 billion in April, following a $380,000 billion deficit in March.

“In the future, Bank Indonesia and the government will coordinate to look closely at developments to the global and national economies so as to anticipate external instabilities,” Onny said. (bbn)