Indonesia: Trade surplus rises to six month high in March
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), the country recorded a trade surplus of USD 1.1 billion in March, swinging from the revised USD 52 million deficit recorded in February (previously reported: USD 116 million deficit). The print surprised to the upside, beating market expectations of a USD 90 million deficit, and it was the largest surplus in six months. March’s trade balance was, however, below the USD 1.4 billion surplus recorded in March 2017.
Import growth slowed notably in March, moderating to 9.1% in annual terms in March from a revised 24.9% in February (previously reported: +25.2% year-on-year). A drop in imports of crude oil, and machinery and electrical equipment drove the slowdown. Export growth also eased in March and came in at 6.1% over the same month of last year, down from a revised 12.0% expansion in February (previously reported: +11.8% yoy). A breakdown of the reading shows that export growth of oil and gas output contracted 11.5% in annual terms in March (February: +16.1% yoy), whereas non-oil and gas sales expanded at a weaker pace of 8.2% (February: +11.6% yoy).
The 12-month moving sum of the trade balance fell from February’s USD 8.8 billion surplus to USD 8.5 billion in March, the lowest reading since November 2016.