Indonesia posted $200 million in trade surplus in June. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)

Indonesia Posts Trade Surplus in June, Rupiah Soars

JULY 15, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia posted a trade surplus in June amid declines in both the country's import and export, the Central Statistics Agency announced on Monday. 

The $200 million surplus last month came from exporting $11.8 billion and importing $11.6 billion worth of goods, the agency's data showed. 

The rupiah strengthened by 0.8 percent against the US dollar to Rp 13,970 on the news, its strongest level since Feb. 11, data from Bank Indonesia, the central bank, showed. 

Rupiah is among the best-performing currencies in Southeast Asia so far this year, having gained 4.2 percent against the greenback. 

June's surplus followed another surplus of $210 million in May, which followed on the heels of the country's record-high $2.5 billion deficit in April. 

Cumulatively, Southeast Asia's largest economy still had $1.9 billion in deficit from January to June.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has been furious with his ministers for failing to boost the country's export performance and for not taking benefits from the global trade war between the United States and China, in the way the likes of Vietnam had done.  

The president, who had just won his re-election last month, has pledged to improve bureaucratic efficiency during his second term to boost the country's trade performance. 

Still, Monday's data pointed to the huge homework the president must tackle in the next five years.

Exports fell 21 percent in June compared to the same month a week ago. 

While there were nine days of inactivity during the Idul Fitri holiday that affected shipments of manufacturing goods, it was the 16 percent decline in Indonesia's coal export that greatly undermined the country's total export performance. 

China, the US and Japan remained Indonesia's main export markets. The Jokowi administration's recent effort to explore new markets has yet to bear significant results. 

Meanwhile, China, Japan and Thailand sold most of the goods that Indonesia imported in the first quarter.