Indonesia Records 34th Consecutive Trade Balance Surplus, Surpassing Market Consensus

Indonesia's Processing/manufacturing Industry

Indonesia has achieved an impressive feat as its trade balance recorded a surplus for the 34th consecutive time. The current surplus is even higher than the previous month, amounting to US$5.48 billion.

The surplus is attributed to higher exports amounting to US$21.40 billion, while imports only amounted to US$15.92 billion.

This surplus figure exceeded the consensus of 12 institutions, which estimated the trade balance surplus in February 2023 to be US$3.2 billion.

Upon closer examination, the US$5.48 billion surplus is the highest since October 2022’s US$5.59 billion.

The Deputy of Production Statistics at the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), M. Habibullah, explained that Indonesia’s imports in February had significantly decreased, and while exports also declined, imports fell even more.

“The trade balance surplus in Indonesia occurred amid a much greater decline in imports compared to exports,” said Habibullah in BPS’s release on Wednesday (15/3/2023).

The decrease in imports was mainly driven by a 15.09% drop in raw material imports in February.

Habibullah added that the decline in non-oil and gas imports by 13.03% was due to several commodities’ roles, such as machinery, electrical equipment, and their parts, which decreased by 10.27%, while plastics and plastic goods decreased by 15.21%.

The 17.19% decrease in oil and gas imports was due to the decrease in crude oil by 45.39% and oil products by 8.20%, he said.

Meanwhile, the value of Indonesia’s imports in February, when viewed annually, also decreased by 4.32%.

“For oil and gas commodities, there was a minus 17.8% decrease, down 2.90 to US$2.41 billion,” he said.

However, Habibullah emphasized that the surplus for 34 consecutive months would have a positive impact on the Indonesian economy.

“If we look at the commodities in the surplus, if the commodities are the basis of goods that increase people’s income, of course, it will have an impact, and then people who export will have improved welfare,” he said in the trade balance release on Wednesday (15/3/2023).

Regarding its impact on the exchange rate, Habibullah emphasized that BPS could not provide an answer.