Monthly exports down for second time this year

Andi Haswidi, The Jakarta Post/Jakarta

The latest trade figures show that Indonesia's monthly exports declined 3.7 percent in April to US$8.85 billion from $9.19 billion a month earlier.

The monthly decrease was due mostly to a 3.45 percent decrease in oil and gas exports and a 3.75 percent decrease in non-oil and gas exports, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) reported Monday.

The decline is the second time this year that exports have fallen, after dropping 0.44 percent from January to $8.32 billion in February.

The total value of oil and gas exports dropped from $1.55 billion in March to $15 billion in April, while non-oil and gas exports declined from $7.6 billion to $7.3 billion.

"The biggest decline (in the non-oil and gas category) was in exports of machinery, including railway rolling stock and locomotives," said BPS deputy chairman for statistics Pietojo.

Exports of machines and electronic goods dropped from $702 million in March to $581 million in April.

On a cumulative basis, however, January-April exports totaled $34.55 billion, up 14.82 percent compared with the same period last year. The cumulative figure included a 22.67 percent increase in non-oil and gas exports.

The government is targeting 20 percent export growth this year so as to help it achieve 6.3 percent economic growth.

Indonesia's exports hit a record high of $100.69 billion last year.

Despite surpassing the $100 billion mark for the first time last year, Indonesia lags behind other Southeast Asian countries in benefiting from the boom in the world's emerging markets, a recent World Bank report has concluded.

Looking at the figures for parts and component exports to China between 1990 and 2003, the World Bank said that Indonesian trade increased only 5-fold, while the Philippines' trade increased 60-fold, Malaysia's 20-fold and Thailand's 15-fold.

The country's exporters estimate that exports will likely grow by a disappointing 14 percent this year due to various factors, such as the continuing failure to deal with red-tape and the high cost of doing business here.

April also saw total imports of $5.64 billion, an increase of 3.86 percent from the $5.44 billion recorded in March, with oil and gas imports amounting to $1.62 billion, representing an approximately 7.76 percent increase.

From the start of the year up until the end of April, the value of total imports amounted to $21.03 billion, representing an increase of 16.13 percent compared to the same period last year, when the equivalent figure was $18.11 billion.
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