Indonesia posts widest ever trade deficit in April

[JAKARTA] Indonesia posted its widest monthly trade deficit in history in April as exports slumped, while the pace of fall in imports were slower than expected, data from the statistics bureau showed on Wednesday.

The resource-rich country booked the first deficit in three months at US$2.5 billion in April, and it was the widest ever, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

This compared with a median forecast of US$500 million deficit in a Reuters poll and a US$671 million surplus a month before.

April exports were down 13.10 per cent on an annual basis at US$12.60 billion, led by a drop in shipments of refined oil and natural gas products. The poll had estimated a 7.15 per cent contraction.

Exports of Indonesia’s main commodities, coal and palm oil, also sank.

Imports fell 6.58 per cent from a year earlier to US$15.10 billion, versus a 12.1 per cent drop expected in the poll.

South-east Asia’s largest economy has for several months seen its exports and imports declining on-year, following a worldwide trend of weaker external trade due to global economic slowdown and the US-China trade war.