Jakarta (ANTARA) - Trade balance surplus at the beginning of this year was a good start in strengthening resilience of the national economy in facing global challenges going forward, Finance Ministry's Fiscal Policy Agency Head Febrio Kacaribu stated.

The trade balance for January 2023 recorded a surplus of US$3.87 billion owing to the export and import performance, so it continued to record a surplus for 33 consecutive months since May 2020.

"Export and import figures are still quite high, even the highest as compared to figures in January in the previous years," Kacaribu noted in an official statement in Jakarta, Thursday.

The agency head remarked that going forward, the government remains wary of the potential for pressure from a global economic slowdown, as reflected in the still contracting Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for manufacturing in trading partner countries.

The government will keep endeavoring to boost the competitiveness of export products, including by encouraging the downstream of natural resources and encouraging the diversification of export destination countries, including potential countries.

Last month, the largest contributors to Indonesia's trade balance surplus were the United States, the Philippines, and India, with the main commodities being mineral fuels, palm products, and machinery.

Starting 2023, Indonesia's exports in January recorded quite a good growth, increasing by 16.37 percent as compared to the same period in the previous year (year-on-year/yoy), or reaching US$22.31 billion, supported by increased exports of both oil and gas commodities and non-oil and gas, respectively increasing by 65.03 percent (yoy) and 13.97 percent (yoy).

Kacaribu noted that several main commodities that supported positive export performance included precious metals and jewelry or gems, as well as rubber and rubber goods.

Exports to major trading partner countries also recorded strong growth. Exports of non-oil and gas products to China, which accounted for 25.2 percent of the total non-oil and gas exports, grew by 49.4 percent (yoy).

"Even though the Manufacturing PMI for Indonesia's several main trading partner countries, such as China, remained in a contraction zone, export is still going high at the beginning this year," he stated.

Meanwhile, he remarked that imports in January 2023 were recorded at US$18.44 billion, thereby growing 1.27 percent (yoy). Judging from the use, the imports of consumer goods, capital goods, and auxiliary raw materials still grew positively by 1.09 percent (yoy), 5.66 percent (yoy), and 0.41 percent (yoy) respectively.

"The consistently positive growth in all types of imports in all forms shows that domestic production activities continue to be expansive, in accordance with the increase in the PMI indicator in January," Kacaribu explained.

Judging from the type of commodity, he noted that imports were dominated by main commodities, including electrical machinery and equipment and their parts.

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Translator: Agatha Olivia, Cindy Frishanti Octavia
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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