Exports From Indonesia Rise, Thanks to Asia, Not the West
Thursday, 03 May 2012 | 00:00
Indonesia’s exports rose 7 percent in the first quarter on demand from Asia, offsetting a slowdown in exports to the sluggish US and European markets.
The country’s total overseas sales rose to $48.5 billion in the first three months of 2012, up from $45.4 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).
Total first-quarter imports grew at a faster pace than exports, rising 18.2 percent to $45.8 billion, up from $38.8 billion a year earlier, BPS data showed.
The improved numbers resulted in a trade surplus of $2.7 billion for the quarter.
Economists in Jakarta, along with Trade Minister Gita Wirjawan, have been saying that the global economic crisis will likely cause Indonesia’s exports to plateau this year.
“Major trading partners are struggling with the economic slowdown,” Anton Gunawan, an economist at Bank Danamon Indonesia, said on Tuesday.
“The US recovery pace is still below expectations, while the European debt crisis is far from over, with Spain’s bond yield starting to climb and threatening the region’s efforts to recover from the crisis.”
In March alone, Indonesia’s exports rose 10 percent to $17.27 billion from the previous month and increased 5.5 percent from the same month last year, the statistics office said.
BPS chairman Suryamin said Asian nations, including China, India and Japan, remained the biggest destinations for Indonesian goods.
China bought $2.05 billion of Indonesia’s non-oil and gas exports. Japan purchased $1.43 billion worth of goods, the United States $1.28 billion and the 27-member euro zone market $1.54 billion.
Despite the strong export performance so far this year, Anton said, Indonesia may have a difficult time meeting its full-year target for 2012.
“The government expects exports to grow at 13 percent this year to $230 billion,” he said.
To offset a possible slowing in demand from its normal trade partners, he added, the government plans to diversify exports to countries in Africa and South America.
Indonesia’s total exports hit a record $205 billion last year as the economy expanded 6.5 percent, which was the fastest pace since 1996.
Exports accounted for 29 percent of the country’s economic activity last year, compared with 56 percent generated by domestic personal spending.
Source: Jakarta Globe
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