Indonesia recorded a US$864 million trade deficit in January on the back of plummeting oil and gas exports, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Monday.
The country recorded a total of $13.41 billion in exports in January, a 3.71 percent decrease year-on-year (yoy), while total imports fell 4.78 percent yoy to $14.28 billion.
Indonesia's oil and gas exports experienced the largest decline, falling 34.7 percent yoy in January to $805.9 million, resulting in a deficit of $1.18 billion, while the non-oil and gas sector booked a surplus of $317 million.
“The government has implemented various policies, such as increasing the use of B30 [blended biodiesel], which we hope will create a surplus,” BPS head Suhariyanto said in Jakarta.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo urged stakeholders to accelerate the implementation of the government's policy increase the biodiesel blend from 20 to 30 percent crude palm oil by January 2020 and up to 50 percent by the end of 2020. Such a policy is expected to reduce the country’s fossil fuel imports.
Indonesia recorded $167.53 billion in exports and $170.72 billion in imports last year, resulting in a trade deficit of $3.2 billion, lower than the $8.7 billion deficit recorded in 2018.