However, Indonesia had still posted a $0.19 billion trade deficit in the first quarter of 2019, BPS Chief Suhariyanto remarked at a press briefing at the BPS Office, Jakarta, on Monday.
Indonesia's oil and gas trade deficit continued during the January-March 2019 period, though non-oil/non-gas trade balance registered a surplus.
"We are upbeat of being able to witness a surplus in the forthcoming months, with the adoption of a government policy to enhance exports while concurrently curbing imports," he remarked.
Suhariyanto cautioned that with the global economic environment set to become increasingly difficult, it will result in a drop in demand of Indonesia's export commodities in the main markets, while global commodity prices will continue to show fluctuations.
Researcher at the Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) Putu Rusta Adijaya had earlier stated that the government must exercise caution over this year's February trade surplus of $330 million arising from a drop in imports, specifically of raw materials and auxiliary goods. The projection of a slowdown in China's economy and the US-China trade war were considered to be significant triggering factors.
"The slowdown is a result of a drop in the demand from them. In fact, exports have been a major component of China's economic growth," he pointed out.
Indonesia will be significantly affected by whatever policy is adopted by the United States, which is among its key export destinations, the BPS head stated.
The United States, under President Donald Trump's presidency, has made continued efforts to drive exports in the oil and gas sector while simultaneously lowering oil and gas imports, including those from Indonesia, he added. EDITED BY INE