[JAKARTA] Indonesia's trade balance is expected to have reverted back to a surplus in December, helping Southeast Asia's largest economy post the first full-year surplus in four years, a Reuters poll showed.
Both exports and imports in December were expected to fall more sharply than the month before, as weak global demand and falls in commodity prices curb shipments abroad and consumption at home, the poll of 11 economists showed.
The median estimate was for a trade surplus of around US$100 million in December, following a US$346 million deficit the previous month - the first deficit in a year.
Exports in December were seen slumping 19 per cent, while imports were seen falling 19.24 per cent, with both figures worse than November.
For the full-year 2015, Indonesia was likely to have posted an overall trade surplus for the first time since 2011 compared with a US$2.2 billion deficit the year before. "We know that the improvement is driven by a slump in imports rather than a rebound in export growth," said Gundy Cahyadi, DBS' economist in Singapore. "Export growth remains lacklustre. It is a combination of poor global demand and Indonesia's lack of competitiveness."