Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Wednesday (15/04) that Indonesia posted a USD $1.13 billion trade surplus in March 2015, the country’s fourth straight monthly trade surplus, and almost twice the size that analysts had forecast earlier. Despite the monthly trade surplus being good news, data also showed that both Indonesian exports and imports contracted. Exports were down 9.8 percent (y/y) to USD $13.71 billion in March, while imports fell 13.4 percent (y/y) to USD $12.58 billion.
In March 2015, Indonesia’s oil & gas trade balance still suffered a deficit of USD $279.2 million, primarily caused by oil imports. Although the value of oil imports have fallen amid low global petroleum prices, oil imports continue to put pressure on the country’s trade balance.
Cumulatively, Indonesia posted a trade surplus of USD $2.43 billion in the first three months of 2015. This is a positive result in the context of the country’s battle against the current account deficit.
However, when we take a look at Indonesia’s export performance there is still ample room for pessimism as exports fell 11.7 percent (y/y) to USD $39.1 billion in the first quarter of 2015, mainly caused by lower commodity prices. Out a total of 25 commodities only two commodities experienced an upward price movement in the first quarter of 2015 (compared to the same period last year).