Panama-listed Glorious Sunlight cargo ship docks at Dumai I Port in Riau on June 6. (Antara Photo/Aswaddy Hamid)

Indonesia Posts More Surplus as Pandemic Curbs Raw Material, Capital Goods Imports


JUNE 15, 2020

Jakarta. Indonesia's trade balance swung to a $2.09 billion surplus in May from a deficit of $345 million a month earlier as companies postponed imports of raw materials and capital goods amid restrictions to keep the Covid-19 pandemic under control. 

The surplus was the second largest in the past two years.

Indonesia exported $10.53 billion worth of merchandise last month, down 29 percent from the same month a year ago, data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) showed on Monday.

Non-oil and gas exports, which account for a lion's share of shipments from the archipelago, declined 28 percent to $9.88 billion. 

Imports fell 42 percent to $8.44 billion with non-oil and gas imports declining by 37 percent to $7.78 billion.

Imports of raw material shrank 43 percent to $6.11 billion last month since the same month a year ago.

Meanwhile, companies spent only $1.96 billion, or 16 percent less, on buying capital goods from abroad.

"The decline in imports of raw and auxiliary materials, as well as imports of capital goods, needs to be observed closely because it will have a major impact on the manufacturing and trade sector as well as on investment," BPS head Suhariyanto said in a press conference on Monday. 

China remains Indonesia's largest non-oil and gas export destination, followed by the United States and Japan. 

Overall, Indonesia's trade balance in the first five months this year still sits on a $4.31 billion surplus from trades with the United States, India and the Netherlands.

The country posts a deficit in its trade balance with China, Thailand and Australia.