Indonesia: Merchandise exports contract in March
Merchandise exports fell 11.3% year-on-year in March (February: +4.4% year-on-year). Downturns in exports of oil and gas and non-oil and gas were behind the deceleration. Meanwhile, merchandise imports fell 6.3% in annual terms in March (February: -4.3% yoy), weighed down by declining purchases of consumer goods and raw materials.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance deteriorated from the previous month, recording a USD 2.9 billion surplus in March (February 2023: USD 5.5 billion surplus; March 2022: USD 4.5 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend deteriorated, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 57.5 billion surplus in March, compared to the USD 59.1 billion surplus in February.
Commenting on the outlook, economists at UOB, stated:
“Normalization of commodity prices and delayed commissioning of iron and steel refineries in Central Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi are expected to hold back manufacturing export growth this quarter.”