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Indonesia Trade Seen Swinging Back to a Surplus in January

Jakarta Globe | February 14, 2018
 The Islamic Chamber of Commerce , Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA)

Indonesia's trade likely rebounded to show a small surplus in January, a Reuters poll showed on Tuesday (13/02), as higher oil prices helped lift commodity exports.

A median forecast from 15 economists in the poll was for a surplus of $190 million in January, compared to a $270 million deficit in December.

Exports in January were seen expanding 7.30 percent from a year earlier, compared with December's 6.93 percent annual gain.

High global oil prices in January would have supported the prices of coal, one of Indonesia's top commodity exports, said Fakhrul Fulvian, an economist with brokerage Trimegah Securities in Jakarta.

In the poll, import growth was seen at 19.3 percent, faster than the 17.83 percent rise in December.

Imports likely were robust in January on the back of an "investment recovery" in Southeast Asia's largest economy, said Gundy Cahyadi, an economist with DBS Bank.

A significant portion of Indonesia's manufacturing activities required raw or intermediate material from overseas.

In 2017, Indonesia posted a trade surplus in every month, except for July and December.

For full-year 2017, Indonesia's statistics bureau reported a provisional trade surplus of $11.84 billion, on the back of mineral and agriculture exports, as well as shipments of manufactured goods.