Indonesia: Trade balance turns to deficit in January
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the country recorded a trade deficit of USD 676 million in January, its third deficit in the past two years. The country almost always records trade surpluses and the result contrasted market expectations of a USD 190 million surplus. In addition, the reading was notably below January 2017’s USD 1.4 billion surplus.
The deficit was largely due to a surge in imports combined with lackluster export growth. Imports soared, growing 26.4% annually in January, above December’s 18.2% expansion. The result was due partly to rising imports of machinery. Export growth, however, slowed and came in at 7.9% over the same month last year (December: +10.8% year-on-year). Breaking down the reading, the slump in export growth was due to a slowdown in oil and gas sales, which rose a modest 1.1% in January (December: +20.8% yoy). On the other hand, non-oil and gas shipments gained steam in January, growing 8.6%, above December’s 6.2%.
The 12-month moving sum of the trade balance fell from December’s USD 12.3 billion surplus to a USD 10.2 billion surplus in January, the lowest reading since December 2016.