Indonesia: Trade deficit narrows in February
March 15, 2018
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the country recorded a trade deficit of USD 116 million in February, its fourth deficit in almost two-and-a-half years. The country almost always records trade surpluses but the result almost matched market expectations of a USD 130 million deficit. In addition, the reading contrasted February 2017’s USD 1.3 billion surplus.
The deficit was largely due to surging imports combined with robust but insufficient export growth. Imports soared, growing 25.2% annually in February, slightly below January’s 27.9% jump. The result was due partly to rising imports of crude oil and industrial materials and capital goods. Export growth gained some steam and came in at 11.8% over the same month last year (January: +8.6% year-on-year). Breaking down the reading, export growth accelerated thanks to stronger oil and gas sales, which rose a robust 16.1% in February (January: +4.1% yoy). Moreover, non-oil and gas shipments also gained some steam in February, growing 11.3%, above January’s 9.1%.
The 12-month moving sum of the trade balance fell from January’s USD 10.1 billion surplus to a USD 8.8 billion surplus in February, the lowest reading since November 2016.
Indonesia Exports Forecast
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to increase 5.1% and see the trade balance recording a surplus of USD 15.9 billion in 2018. For 2019, the panel expects exports to grow 6.0% and expects the trade surplus to drop to USD 15.0 billion.