Indonesia Oct trade surplus widens to US$5.7 billion, above forecast

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JAKARTA : Indonesia’s trade surplus widened to US$5.67 billion in October from US$4.99 billion in September, as imports were less than expected, statistics bureau data showed on Tuesday.

A Reuters poll of economists had forecast a reduced surplus of US$4.5 billion for October.

The resource rich Southeast Asian economy has benefited from high prices of its main commodity exports, such as palm oil, coal and nickel, for more than a year.

Economists have warned that once commodity prices moderate and the global economy slows, Indonesia’s export earnings would tail off and its trade balance could come under pressure from sustained domestic demand driving up imports.

In October, however, the strong rise in imports was still less than expected. Data showed October imports rose 17.44per cent from a year ago to US$19.14 billion, below a forecast rise of 23.62per cent.

On a monthly basis, imports shrank by 3.4per cent, with purchases of machinery, fuel, and gold driving the decline.

Meanwhile, exports in October rose 12.3per cent from a year ago to US$24.81 billion, which was the weakest year-on-year increase since February 2021, and below the poll forecast for 13.85per cent growth.

Indonesia’s strong trade performance this year has helped limit the rupiah’s depreciation against the strong U.S. dollar.

The October trade data would be among a host of economic indicators Bank Indonesia is set to examine at a monetary policy review this week.

The central bank is expected to deliver a third consecutive 50 basis point interest rate hike on Thursday, a separate Reuters poll showed.

(Reporting by Stefanno Sulaiman, Gayatri Suroyo and Bernadette Christina Munthe; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)