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Indonesia posts $5.7bln trade surplus in October, beating forecasts

A worker walks on the dock of the Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia April 16, 2018.

Posted on November 16, 2022

Indonesia’s trade surplus widened to $5.67 billion in October from $4.99 billion in September, as imports were less than expected, statistics bureau data showed on Tuesday.

A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a reduced surplus of $4.5 billion for October.

The resource rich Southeast Asian economy has benefited from high prices of its main commodity exports, such as palm oil, coal and nickel, for more than a year.

Economists have warned that once commodity prices moderate and the global economy slows, Indonesia’s export earnings would tail off and its trade balance could come under pressure from sustained domestic demand driving up imports.

In October, however, the strong rise in imports was still less than expected. Data showed October imports rose 17.44% from a year ago to $19.14 billion, below a forecast rise of 23.62%.

On a monthly basis, imports shrank by 3.4%, with purchases of machinery, fuel, and gold driving the decline.

Meanwhile, exports in October rose 12.3% from a year ago to $24.81 billion, which was the weakest year-on-year increase since February 2021, and below the poll forecast for 13.85% growth.

Indonesia’s strong trade performance this year has helped limit the rupiah’s depreciation against the strong U.S. dollar.

The October trade data would be among a host of economic indicators Bank Indonesia is set to examine at a monetary policy review this week.

The central bank is expected to deliver a third consecutive 50 basis point interest rate hike on Thursday, a separate Reuters poll showed. (Reporting by Stefanno Sulaiman, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina Munthe; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)


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