Exports hit $8.02b in November, highest level in history

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The country's exports broke yet another record in November at US$8.92 billion, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) reported Tuesday, adding weight to predictions that full-year exports will hit $100 billion for the first time.

"According to our records, the $8.92 billion recorded in November, which is slightly higher than the figure for August, is the highest in the history of this republic," BPS director Rusman Heriawan said Tuesday.

Rusman said that the total value of exports in November was 2.37 percent higher than in October, and 29.59 percent higher than in November 2005.

The increase, Rusman said, was due to higher oil and gas exports, up by 10.48 percent from $1.58 billion to $1.75 billion, and higher non-oil and gas exports, up 0.57 percent from $7.13 billion to $7.17 billion.

Within the oil and gas export sector, crude oil exports jumped by 51.34 percent to $697.7 million in November. "However, an increase in value did not happen in the gas sector as the total value of gas exports decreased by 3.9 percent to $776.9 million," Rusman explained.

The main markets for Indonesia's exports remained the same as in previous months, with Japan topping the list followed by the United States, Singapore, China, Malaysia, South Korea and the European Union.

Cumulatively, the country's exports from January to November reached $91.19 billion, up 17.61 percent compared to the same period in 2005.

"I cannot say whether total exports will total $100 billion by the end of December, but I can say that if we want to reach that figure, than all we need is around $8.8 billion in exports in December," Rusman said.

"From our experience between 1997 and 2005, December's exports are usually higher than November's. So you can decide for yourself whether 2006's export will reach $100 billion or not."

The increase in exports in December, as shown by trends in previous years, is due to higher demand from foreign countries, especially those in the northern hemisphere in the face of winter and the Christmas celebrations, which in turn push up demand for commodities from Indonesia.

As for imports, the BPS figures show that the country's total imports in November were worth $5.86 billion, an increase of 30.3 percent compared to October.

"The total value of imports between January and November reached Rp 56.06 billion, an increase of 6.14 percent compared to the same period in 2005, when the equivalent figure was $52.8 billion," he said.

Japan was the largest exporter to Indonesia between January and November with a total value of $5.01 billion, with China second on $4.99 billion and the U.S. third on $3.69 billion.

"In December, we saw a 5.53 percent increase in raw materials and a 10.36 percent increase in capital goods, as opposed to imports of consumer goods in the previous six months," Rusman said.

"This means that we will see an increase in local production in the first quarter of 2007," he concluded.

On the same occasion, Rusman announced the results of the BPS 2006 economic census on companies and businesses, saying that about 43 percent of the country's businesses, excluding farming, operated without a permanent place of business.

"Most of these businesses are informal ones, such as those run by street vendors. This is the main characteristic of our country's economy."
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