Rachmadea Aisyah, Jakarta – Indonesia has recorded a trade deficit of US$63 million in July on the back of weak commodity prices that has affected its export value, according to Statistic Indonesia (BPS) data released on Thursday.
The figure is a reversal from a June trade surplus of around $300 million. The country's balance of trade has maintained a negative trend overall from January to July with a deficit of $1.9 billion, which is still an improvement from the minus $3.21 billion it recorded during the same period in 2018.
Exports in July declined 5.12 percent year-on-year (yoy) to $15.45 billion, while imports fell 15.21 percent yoy to $15.51 billion.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, BPS head Suhariyanto said the trade balance barely missed recording a surplus in July due to declining prices of Indonesia's primary raw materials exports.
He cited the price of crude palm oil, which had declined 0.18 percent yoy, and the price of coal, which had declined 39.72 percent yoy, whereas the export volumes of the two commodities had actually increased in July.
"The structure of our export commodities remains unchanged and still consists mainly of raw materials," said Suhariyanto. "This is a challenge for us to shift our production downstream in order to boost added value and create more jobs."