Indonesia: Trade balance records unexpectedly large surplus in November
January 2, 2014
Exports fell 2.4% over the same month of the previous year in November 2013. The result contrasted the 2.4% expansion observed in October, which had marked the first positive growth in exports following 18 consecutive months of decline. Non-oil and gas exports, which account for the majority of Indonesian shipments, contracted 3.1% in November (October: +2.4% year-on-year). Oil and gas exports increased 1.1% (October: +2.4% yoy).
Meanwhile, imports contracted 10.5% in November, which followed the 8.9% decrease recorded in October. Falling imports are being driven in part by subdued demand due to high import costs associated with a weak rupiah.
As a result of the growth in exports and the contraction in imports, the trade balance ballooned to a USD 777 million surplus in November, which was a drastic increase over the modest USD 24 million deficit registered in October. This is the largest trade balance since March 2012. The result came as a surprise to the market, which had only expected the trade balance to increase to a USD 75 million surplus. Moreover, the 12-month moving sum of the trade balance posted a shortfall of USD 5.8 billion, which was up from the USD 7.2 billion deficit observed in October.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect exports to expand 4.5% and the trade deficit to reach USD 3.4 billion in 2014. For 2015, the panel expects exports to grow 8.8% and the trade balance to rebound a to USD 5.9 billion surplus.
Author: Carl Kelly, Economist