JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Government data released this week showed that as imports, such as raw materials and capital goods, declined more than expected, Indonesia's trade surplus surged to double the forecasted figure for August.
The country's statistics bureau reported that the surplus of Southeast Asia's biggest economy was US$3.12 billion, compared to the median forecast of $1.55 billion and up sharply from $1.31 billion in July.
Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti, acting head of Statistics Indonesia, said that imports fell 14.77 percent to $18.88 billion, more than the forecasted drop of 9.33 percent, while crude oil imports declined some 39 percent from a year earlier.
Irman Faiz, economist at Bank Danamon, said the import decline was influenced by seasonal factors.
"On the other hand, weakening global growth and lower commodity prices are expected to result in reduced exports," he said, maintaining his 2023 current account deficit forecast at 0.4 percent of gross domestic product.
Due to lower prices for the country's top commodities, such as coal, palm oil and natural gas, Indonesia's exports dropped 21.21 percent in August from a year earlier to $22 billion, compared with a forecast 22 percent decline.
Trimegah economist Fakhrul Fulvian said, "Indonesia's policymakers must remain cautious about currency volatility given expectations of a current account deficit and with US Treasury yields rising."