Jakarta: Indonesia's foreign trade surprisingly swung back to a surplus in May, against market expectations of a US$1.38 billion deficit, spurring some hopes for improvement in the country's trade outlook despite the Sino-US trade war.
South-east Asia's largest economy had a US$207.6 million surplus for May, the statistics bureau said on Monday, as imports dropped near the end of the Muslim fasting month, report agencies.This followed a trade gap in April that was the widest in Indonesia's history, at US$2.44 billion, partly due to rising demand for imported consumer goods ahead of Ramadan, the fasting month, which began in May and ended in early June.
"The trend of billions of dollars of trade deficit is behind us," said Satria Sambijantoro, Bahana Sekuritas economist and the only one of 11 analysts in the Reuters poll who expected a May surplus.
He said that last month's decline in exports was not as sharp as initially expected due to better sales of manufactured goods, while the pace at which imports declined did not indicate a major economic slowdown. In May, exports dropped 8.99 per cent from a year earlier to US$14.74 billion, versus the poll's forecast of a 14.7 per cent fall.