VIRUS OUTBREAK

Indonesia's exports and imports grow more than expected in March

Published Fri, Apr 16, 2021 · 05:50 AM

Jakarta

INDONESIA'S exports surged in March due to higher commodity prices and rebounding global demand, while imports also grew by more than expected last month, as domestic manufacturing activity improved, statistics bureau data showed on Thursday.

Merchandise exports beat forecast with an annual jump of 30.47 per cent to US$18.35 billion on rising shipments of oil, natural gas, palm oil, steel and coal.

Shipments were also supported by elevated commodity prices and improving demand from top trade partners like China and the United States, whose economies are recovering strongly from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Export growth in March was the highest since July 2017, Refinitiv Eikon data showed, and compared with a Reuters poll forecast of 11.74 per cent. Imports were up 25.73 per cent to US$16.79 billion on higher purchases of raw materials and capital goods. This was the strongest growth since July 2018 and higher than a 6 per cent forecast.

"The double-digit increases, both in (imports of) raw materials and capital goods, show manufacturing activities and investment had recovered in the month, and we hope it will continue in the second quarter," the statistics bureau chief Suhariyanto said.

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Indonesia's vaccine purchase and food imports ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan also boosted the figure, he said. Ramadan began on April 13 in the country.

Indonesia's US$1.56 billion trade surplus in March came in slightly below the US$1.64 billion predicted in the Reuters poll. The surplus narrowed from US$2.01 billion in February. REUTERS

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