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Indonesia posts trade surplus for 41 months in a row

Jakarta Globe - October 16, 2023

Herman, Arnoldus Kristianus, Jakarta – Indonesia has maintained a trade surplus for 41 consecutive months, even in the face of a declining trend in export performance in September 2023.

The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) reports that Indonesia's export value in September 2023 amounted to $20.76 billion, a 5.63 percent decrease compared to August 2023. Meanwhile, imports dropped by 8.15 percent to $17.34 billion. As a result, Indonesia's trade balance recorded a surplus of $3.42 billion, an improvement compared to August 2023's surplus of $3.12 billion.

"The trade balance in September 2023 is in surplus once again, marking 41 consecutive months of surplus since May 2020," Acting BPS Head Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti told a press conference on Monday.

Amalia said that the surplus is primarily supported by the non-oil and gas sector, amounting to $5.34 billion, but it was offset by a deficit in the oil and gas sector amounting to $1.92 billion.

The three largest contributors to Indonesia's surplus in September 2023 were the United States, China, and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the three countries with the deepest deficits were Australia, Thailand, and Brazil.

Cumulatively, Indonesia's trade balance surplus until September 2023 reached $27.75 billion. This figure is lower than the same period in the previous year, which stood at $39.85 billion.

El Nino impact on export

Indonesia's export performance in September 2023 continues to show a declining trend. BPS reports that Indonesia's exports for the month amounted to $20.76 billion, a 5.63 percent decrease compared to the previous month. Furthermore, on an annual basis, the decline reaches 16.17 percent.

According to BPS, non-oil and gas exports reached $19.35 billion, a 6.41 percent decrease compared to August 2023. This decline primarily occurred in the animal and vegetable oil commodities, which saw a 20.54 percent drop.

The largest non-oil and gas exports in September 2023 were to China, amounting to $5.17 billion. The United States ranked second with $1.84 billion, followed by India with $1.50 billion. The combined contribution of these three countries to export performance was 43.97 percent.

On the other hand, a 185.14 percent jump in crude oil exports helped oil and gas exports rise by 6.54 percent in September as compared to the previous month.

Amalia also noted several factors affecting Indonesia's export performance in September 2023, including the impact of El Nino, which is typically felt during the dry season, particularly in July, August, September, and October. Additionally, prices of key commodities in the global market are relatively lower compared to the previous year.

Cumulatively, Indonesia's exports for the period of January-September 2023 amounted to $192.27 billion, marking a 12.34 percent decrease.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/business/indonesia-posts-trade-surplus-for-41-months-in-a-ro