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Indonesia's Jan trade deficit wider than forecast
[JAKARTA] Indonesia's trade deficit swelled in January as exports fell sharper than expected, although imports contracted for the first time in 19 months, data from the statistics bureau showed on Friday.
Southeast Asia's largest economy had a trade gap of US$1.16 billion in the first month of 2019, larger than the US$970 million deficit expected in a Reuters poll and December's revised deficit of US$1.03 billion.
Exports fell 4.70 per cent in January on a yearly basis to US$13.87 billion, compared to the poll's forecast of a 2.54 per cent drop, marking a third month of contraction. Shipments of Indonesia's main commodities, including coal, palm oil and crude oil, fell in January.
January imports were worth US$15.03 billion, down 1.83 per cent from a year earlier and the first decline since June 2017. The poll had expected a 1.05 per cent on-year decline.
Indonesia has been struggling to reduce its trade and current account deficits for months. Authorities have raised import tariffs and relaxed export rules to narrow the gap.
Last year's trade deficit of US$8.5 billion was the largest on record.