A worker harvests oil palm fruits at a plantation in Batanghari, Jambi, on Dec 12. (Antara Photo/Wahdi Septiawan)

Indonesia Posts 7th Straight Trade Surplus in November


DECEMBER 15, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia has kept its trade balance in the black for the seventh month in November, posting a $2.62 billion surplus thanks to improving coal and palm oil exports while raw material imports remained depressed. The country's statistic agency announced on Tuesday. 

Last month, Indonesia's export increased to $15.3 billion, up 9.54 percent from the same month last year. In comparison, imports fell 17.5 percent to $12.66 billion over the same period, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) data showed. 


On month to month basis, the exports rose 6.36 percent from October, while imports increased by 17.4 percent. 

"The surplus was encouraging because it was due to an increase in exports and imports compared to the previous month, although on a year-on-year basis, imports are still decreasing," BPS Head Suhariyanto said on Tuesday. 

The surplus was in line with consensus from analysts, who expected the economic activities to pick up following the optimism about the Covid-19 vaccination. BRI Danareksa Sekuritas previously projected a surplus of $2.6 billion to $3.13 billion. Meanwhile, a report from NH Korindo Sekuritas showed that a market consensus penciled the surplus at $2.6 billion.

Palm oil exports jumped 23 percent to $449 million, and coal rose 21 percent to $268 million last month from October. Precious metals, jewelry, and gems export declined the most, down 43.4 percent to $255 million from the previous month. 

Cumulatively, Indonesia's export value from January to November 2020 reached $146.8 billion or decreased by 4.22 percent from the same period last year. Excluding oil and gas, the exports stood at $139.49 billion, down only by 2.18 percent. 


In November, the largest non-oil and gas exports were to China at $3.32 billion, followed by the United States at $1.61 billion and Japan at $1.19 billion. Meanwhile, exports to the European Union reached. $1.11 billion.

On imports, a shipment of sugar and confectionery from abroad took the biggest dive, down 66 percent to $101 million in November from a month earlier. Still, in what analysts may see as an encouraging sign of an economic recovery, imports of electrical machinery and equipment rose 23 percent to $354 million. 

The three largest suppliers of imported non-oil and gas goods in the January-November period were China at $ 34.91 billion, Japan at $9.77 billion, and Singapore at $7.38 billion. Non-oil and gas imports from Asean member countries valued at $21 billion and the European Union valued at $ 9.06 billion.