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Indonesia's December trade swings to a deficit on weak exports
[JAKARTA] Indonesia posted a trade deficit of US$270 million in December, the statistics bureau said on Monday, against market expectations of a surplus.
That compares with a US$130 million surplus in November. Economists polled by Reuters had expected a surplus of US$640 million.
Indonesia posted a trade surplus nearly every month in 2017 except in July and December.
Exports rose 6.93 per cent last month, compared with 13.18 per cent in November, hurt by a slowdown in automotive parts and vegetable oil shipments. That was much below a 12.70 per cent growth expected in the Reuters poll.
Imports grew by 17.83 per cent, down from 19.62 per cent in November, but slightly higher than expected.
Imports were boosted by purchase of raw materials and capital goods for manufacturing purposes.
Indonesia's overall exports grew 16.22 per cent last year, while imports grew 16.66 per cent.
China continued to be Indonesia's largest trading partner in 2017, making up 13.94 per cent and 26.79 per cent of the country's exports and imports, respectively.
Exports of non-oil and gas are targeted to grow by 5-7 per cent this year from an estimated US$170.3 billion in 2017, Indonesia's Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said earlier this month.