Indonesia: Indonesia registers record trade deficit in April
May 15, 2019
According to Statistics Indonesia, the country recorded a trade deficit of USD 2.5 billion in April, contrasting March’s revised USD 0.7 billion surplus and coming in substantially above market expectations of a mere USD 0.5 billion shortfall.
The deficit came on the back of a plunge in exports (April: -13.1% year-on-year; March: -9.0% yoy), on lower energy and non-energy exports. Imports also fell, albeit less sharply than in the prior month (April: -6.6% yoy; March: -7.0% yoy), likely on the back of government measures to curb the current account deficit.
Looking ahead, exports are seen recovering some lost ground later this year but will likely stay soft, dampened by low prices for palm oil—a key export—and weaker global momentum. Imports are also seen picking up slightly on stronger imports for infrastructure projects following the elections, although a tough base effect and government measures to curb the current account deficit will ensure imports remain subdued overall.
Author: Oliver Reynolds, Economist