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Indonesia registers small surplus in December as both exports, imports contracting

JAKARTA ( – Indonesia posted a small surplus in December 2014 as both exports and imports were contracting, the Central Bureau of Statistic (BPS) announced on Monday (Feb 2) .

The statistic agency said that Indonesia recorded small trade surplus of US$187 million in the month as exports fell sharply due to base effects, down 13.8 percent, while imports also fell in December, down 6.6 percent year-on-year.

The Head of BPS Suryamin said Indonesia’s exports in December reached US$14.62 billion, while imports reached US$14.43 billion. “The surplus was supported by non-oil and gas exports surplus of US$1.22 billion, offsetting deficit in oil and gas exports,” he said.

As for full year 2014, Indonesia posted trade deficit of US$1.89 billion, with exports amounting to US$176.29 billion, while imports reached US$178.18 billion.

ANZ Chief Economist, South Asia, ASEAN and Pacific Glenn Maguire said that on a country basis, Indonesia’s exports have been struggling because of shipments to China. On a value and volume basis,, exports to China have been weighed down by ore and coal shipments.

“On ores, although prices have declined, we will likely still have a positive volume effect in 2015, while coal shipments will likely continue to struggle. The evolution of Chinese demand will be key in determining the durability of Indonesia’s export profile in 2015,” Maquire said.

Indonesia’s imports also fell in December, led by declining imports of consumption, capital and raw material goods.

On a product basis, oil and gas imports were down 10 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter 2014.

Maquire experts imports to slow down. “We have seen a turn in some industrial imports, notably plastic up 7.8 percent and iron and steel up 9.8 percent, however machinery & mechanical imports contracted 13 percent and vehicle imports are down 23 percent. The trend in electrical machinery imports is also positive, signalling a base in the investment slowdown is approaching,” Maquire said.  (*)

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