Indonesia’s exports recorded their best performance in a decade on the back of higher commodity prices and resurgent demand from major trade partners like the U.S. and China.
Exports increased by its fastest pace since 2010, growing 51.9% year-on-year in April to exceed the 40.7% median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. The dollar value of outbound shipments hit $18.48 billion, its highest since 2011. Oil and gas, manufacturing and mining exports drove growth, according to Indonesia’s statistics bureau.
Resource-rich Indonesia is benefiting from the price boom as advanced economies emerge from their pandemic-induced slumps and import greater amounts of commodities from iron ore to palm oil. Southeast Asia’s biggest economy is looking to the export sector to help drive its own recovery and grow 4.5%-5.3% this year.
The upbeat trade performance may continue as the country is well-positioned to benefit from recovering demand and as global vaccinations pick up, said Sonia Zhu, associate economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc.
While base effects played a role, with Indonesia going under lockdown in April 2020, rising export values and accelerating growth rates suggest strong underlying momentum, according to Australia & New Zealand Banking Group economist Krystal Tan.
“The surge in export revenues will certainly be helpful to the recovery, and has positive implications for fiscal revenues and investment,” Tan said. “But we will need to see private consumption – the traditional engine of Indonesia’s economy – normalize before we get a full-bodied recovery.”