Indonesia posts its first back-to-back trade surplus in more than a year. (Antara Photo/Ampelsa)
Indonesian Economy Records First Back-to-Back Surplus Since 2017
BY : DION BISARA
APRIL 15, 2019
Jakarta. Indonesia posted a surprise trade surplus in two consecutive months until March, igniting hope for a much-needed recovery of growth in Southeast Asia's largest economy.
The last time the country saw a back-to-back trade surplus was in November 2017. No wonder the currency market reacted swiftly and positively to the news.
Indonesian currency the rupiah strengthened by 0.4 percent on Monday (15/04) to trade at Rp 14,067 against the US dollar, its strongest level in more than five weeks.
The country posted $540 million in trade surplus last month, exporting $14 billion and importing $13.5 billion worth of goods in the period, data from the Central Statistics Agency showed on Monday.
Indonesia also recorded a $329 million surplus in February. January saw a deficit of $1 billion.
The country saw a record deficit of $8.5 billion last year, its highest in history, fueling criticism against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who will run for re-election on Wednesday.
Monday's data from the statistics agency may lend some support to Prabowo's statement.
Export fell 10 percent last month compared to the same month a year ago. Import was only down by 6 percent.
Cumulatively, exports dropped 8.5 percent to $40.5 billion in the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year. Imports fell 7.4 percent to $40.7 billion in the first quarter.
That means in that first quarter, Indonesia still posted a $193 million deficit.
China, the US and Japan are Indonesia's main export markets. Meanwhile, China, Japan and Thailand sold most of the goods that Indonesia imported in the first quarter.