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JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia posted a surprise US$1.63 billion trade deficit in April 2018, the largest since $1.96 billion in April 2014.

Suhariyanto, Head of Central Statistics Agency, told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday (15/5) that the trade deficit was caused by a surge in imports of oil and gas as well as consumer goods ahead of the fasting month.

Indonesia saw trade surplus of non oil and gas commodities shrunk, and deficit in oil and gas trade was in decline.

In total, the country’s import in April 2018 was up 34.86 per cent to US$16.09 billion from $11.95 billion in April 2017, while export dropped 7.19 per cent to $14.47 billion from $13.27 billion in the same period last year.

Indonesia Import Growth April 2018

Imports of raw materials and capital goods in April respectively rose 33 per cent and 40.81 per cent from a year ago, indicating that investment and manufacturing activities are gaining traction.

Due to the big trade deficit in April, Indonesia’s overall trade balance in the first four months of 2018 swung back into deficit $1.31 billion, versus a surplus of $5.43 billion trade surplus in the same period last year.

The surprise deficit in April would put more pressure on the country’s current account, which was already in a deficit of $5.5 billion, or 2.15 percent of GDP, in the first three months this year.

A widening current account deficit has been cited as one of the key reason why the rupiah is constantly under pressure.

Based on the Central Statistics Agency data, Indonesia posted the biggest surpluses in the period of January-April 2018 in trade with the United States (USD $2,7 billion), India (USD $2.63 billion, and the Netherlands (USD $920 million).

Email: elisa.valenta@theinsiderstories.com