Indonesian exports for the month of February reached US$15.6 billion in value, growing by 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year, the Central Statistics Agency reported on Monday.
The export performance was driven by oil and gas exports, which had grown 26.4 percent year-on-year to $3.3 billion, while non-oil and gas exports stood at $12.3 billion, up only 4.6 percent compared to February last year.
China remains the top destination for non-oil and gas exports, with $1.58 billion in exports, followed by Japan with $1.48 billion and the US with $1.20 billion.
Despite the annual export growth, figures for February show substantial slowing down, indicating growing pressure from protracted global economic headwinds.
“This [slowing down] indicates that the global economic crisis is beginning to affect the performance of Indonesia’s exports,” said Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurthi in a press release on Monday.
The slowing down of export growth is not exclusive to Indonesia, as China’s year-to-year exports weakened from 21.3 percent in February 2011 to 6.9 percent in February this year, South Korea from 30.5 percent to 5.6 percent, Japan from 15.5 percent to 0.03 percent and Brazil from 35.9 percent to 7 percent.
To put the brake on the trend, the Trade Ministry is emphasizing the importance of diversifying the export market toward nontraditional markets such as Africa and Latin America.
Furthermore, export growth is also overshadowed by the accelerating increase in import growth.
Imports for the month of February reached a combined value of $15 billion, up by 27.3 percent compared with February last year. Non-oil and gas imports for the month stood at $11.5 billion, picking up by 24.5 percent while the import of oil and gas grew by 37.3 percent to $3.5 billion.
Cumulatively, Indonesia’s total imports for the first two months of the year reached $29.5 billion, higher by 21.4 percent compared to the same period last year.
Indonesia’s import growth has consistently upstaged its export growth since September 2011, with the worst such cases occurring in December 2011, as imports enjoyed 24.3 percent growth, whereas export grew 2.2 percent.
Bayu attributed this trend to the growth of investment in Indonesia.
“The increase in imports for capital goods and raw materials happened in line with supporting the growth in investment [foreign and local], which increased by 20.5 percent in 2011,” he said. (han)