Jakarta – Indonesia's April trade surplus was seen increasing from the previous month, with imports softening due to less production activities during the holiday of Ramadan, a Reuters poll showed.
The median analysis of 14 economists in the survey showed the trade surplus in April likely increased to $3.38 billion from $2.91 billion in March.
Southeast Asia's largest economy has been recording monthly trade surpluses since mid-2020, but economists have said it would likely shrink this year as some commodity prices fall due to weakening global demand.
Economists in the poll predicted April exports dropping 18.55 per cent on an annual basis due to high base effects, which will be a deeper contraction from 11.33 per cent in the previous month.
April imports were also seen declining 7.85 per cent from the same month last year, versus a 6.26 per cent contraction in March.
Faisal Rachman, Bank Mandiri's economist, said on top of moderating commodity prices, exports were also seen declining in April due to less working days compared to the same month last year, which had Ramadan holiday in May.
He, who projected a $3.25 billion surplus in April, expected trade surplus will continue shrinking going forward as exports are expected to continue easing.
"However, the trade surplus could last longer than anticipated as the decline in commodity prices will be more gradual because of China's economic reopening and OPEC+ oil production cut," Faisal said, referring to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other allies.
[Polling by Devayani Sathyan; Writing by Stefanno Sulaiman; Editing by Varun H K.]