Indonesia’s $7.56b Trade Surplus in April Sets New Record

Indonesia booked a trade surplus of $7.56 billion in April, thus beating the country’s all-time high, the National Statistics Agency or BPS recently announced in a conference. 

"This is the highest trade surplus. Our previous record high of $5.74 billion dates back to October 2021,”  BPS chief Margo Yuwono told a virtual press briefing on Tuesday. 

This also marks the 24th consecutive month that Indonesia posted a trade surplus since May 2020. 

Indonesia's overall exports jumped 47.76 percent year-on-year to $27.32 billion in April. Indonesia last month imported $19.76 billion, expanding 21.97 percent year-on-year, according to BPS.

“The trade surplus mostly came from animal or vegetable fats and oil, followed by mineral fuels. The US, India, and the Philippines were the top contributors to the latest trade surplus,” Margo said. 

Indonesia exported about $2.4 billion to the US in April. The Southeast Asian country's imports from the US stood at $830.7 million, thus resulting in a trade surplus of $1.6 billion. Margo attributed the positive trade balance with the US to apparel and footwear exports.

According to Margo, Indonesia's non-oil and gas trade balance with India in April registered a $1.5 billion surplus. Indonesia booked a trade surplus of $977.9 million with the Philippines in the same month. Mineral fuels were the largest contributor to the trade surpluses with India and the Philippines.

“At the same time, we are seeing a trade deficit with a number of countries. Indonesia's largest trade deficit last month was with Argentina, which reached $320.2 million,” Margo said. 

The BPS data showed Indonesia's overall imports from Argentina reached $349.3 million in April. This far exceeded the $29.1 million Indonesia had exported to Argentina last month. BPS reported that Indonesia's bilateral trade with Australia was the second least favorable, with a deficit of $283.5 million in April. 

Margo went on to say that cereal imports largely contributed to Indonesia's negative trade balance with Argentina. The same goes for the deficit with Australia, although mineral fuel imports were the largest contributor to the negative bilateral trade balance.

The high cereal imports from the said two countries possibly ensued from the ongoing war in Ukraine, which has been a major wheat supplier for Indonesia.

"We can conclude that we are shifting some of our [cereal] imports from Ukraine [to] Argentina and Australia," Margo said.

May 23, 2022