The central bank of Indonesia (Bank Indonesia) expects that the country will record another monthly trade surplus in December 2013. Perry Warjiyo, Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia, said that the December trade balance is estimated to record a USD $785 million surplus, thus slightly improving from the USD $776.8 million surplus in November 2013. If Bank Indonesia's forecast is realized then it would be the third consecutive month in which Indonesia posts a trade surplus. This is important to improve the country's financial stability.
The trade balance (and current account deficit) has been a serious financial weakness of Indonesia in 2013 and is partly to blame for significant capital outflows as well as rupiah depreciation. After the Federal Reserve started to speculate in late May 2013 about an end to its monthly USD $85 billion bond-buying program (known as quantitative easing), global investors pulled billions of US dollars away from riskier assets in the emerging economies, particularly those emerging economies that show weaknesses in their financial make-up such as Indonesia's wide current account deficit. This deficit hit a record high of USD $9.9 billion (equivalent to 4.4 percent of GDP) in the second quarter of 2013 but has eased to about 3.5 percent of GDP by the end of 2013. Bank Indonesia aims to lower the figure further to below 3 percent, which is considered a sustainable level.
Indonesia's trade balance has improved in recent months due to higher commodity prices, but also due to reduced imports amid a sharply depreciated Indonesia rupiah exchange rate (making imports more expensive).
Indonesia's Trade Balance 2013 (in billion US Dollar):
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Source: Statistics Indonesia