Indonesia: Merchandise exports grow at a slower rate in February
Merchandise exports expanded 4.5% year-on-year in February (January: +16.4% year-on-year). A notable slowdown in foreign sales of mineral fuels—for which China, the U.S. and Japan are the main destinations—and of non-oil and gas exports was behind the deceleration. Meanwhile, merchandise imports fell 4.3% in annual terms in February (January: +1.3% yoy), weighed down by declining purchases of machinery and mechanical goods.
As a result, the merchandise trade balance improved from the previous month, recording a USD 5.5 billion surplus in February (January 2023: USD 3.9 billion surplus; February 2022: USD 3.8 billion surplus). Lastly, the trend improved, with the 12-month trailing merchandise trade balance recording a USD 59.1 billion surplus in February, compared to the USD 57.5 billion surplus in January.
Commenting on the release, Enrico Tanuwidjaja, economist at UOB, stated:
“The latest stronger trade surplus figure was mainly driven by weaker imports figures rather than stronger export receipts, which is symptomatic of weaker domestic demand for importable goods. This remains consistent with our view that the Indonesian economy is likely to experience a growth slowdown to circa 4.9% in 2023 viz. 5.3% growth last year.”