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Indonesia posts larger-than-expected trade deficit in October

[JAKARTA] Indonesia surprisingly posted a larger-than-expected trade deficit in October, as sluggish export growth failed to cover surging import bills, data from the statistics bureau showed on Thursday.

The trade deficit stood at US$1.82 billion in October, compared with a US$170 million deficit expected in a Reuters poll and a US$313 million surplus in September.

Imports in October jumped 23.66 per cent from a year earlier to US$17.62 billion, significantly higher than the poll's 9.20 per cent forecast, on higher purchases of everything from consumer durables to capital goods.

Exports rose 3.59 per cent in October to US$15.80 billion, higher than the poll's 1.81 per cent forecast.

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Southeast Asia's largest economy has been struggling to address increasing imports in the past few months. Some measures, including higher tariffs, have been imposed to curb imports, to contain the trade gap and support the rupiah that has lost around 8 per cent of its value against the dollar so far this year.