Indonesia: Merchandise exports rebound in November
Merchandise exports soared 9.5% year-on-year in November, following October’s 3.5% fall and supported by higher non-energy exports. November’s reading was the strongest since February 2020, as Indonesia benefitted from solid momentum among many Asian economies. Meanwhile, merchandise imports plummeted 17.5% in annual terms in November (October: -26.9% yoy), but still marked the best result since June 2020, likely indicative of a slight uptick in domestic demand.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 2.6 billion surplus in November (October 2020: USD 3.6 billion surplus; November 2019: USD 1.4 billion deficit). Lastly, the trend pointed up, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 19.6 billion surplus in November, compared to the USD 15.6 billion surplus in October. Solid trade surpluses in October and November point to another healthy current account reading for Q4, following the first quarterly current account surplus for nine years in Q3.
Looking to next year, both exports and imports should recover as the impact of the pandemic recedes. The recovery in imports should be sharper than that of exports due to a supportive base effect, which will push down the trade surplus and cause the current account deficit to widen.