October 15, 2019 / 4:45 AM / a month ago

Indonesia returns to trade deficit in September

FILE PHOTO: A worker walks on the dock of the Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta, Indonesia April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside/File Photo

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia swung back to a trade deficit in September as the pace of the decline in imports was slower than expected, data from the statistics bureau showed on Tuesday.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy had a $160.5 million trade deficit in September, the statistics bureau said, compared to a $100 million surplus expected in a Reuters poll. It had a $112.4 million trade surplus in August.

Exports dropped 5.74% annually in September to $14.10 billion, close to the poll’s prediction of a 5.84% fall, driven by, among others, a plunge in shipments of coal and palm oil - the country’s two main commodities.

However, imports fell 2.41% on an annual basis last month to $14.26 billion, versus the poll’s median of a 4.20% decline. September imports of consumer and capital goods grew on-year, cushioning the overall drop.

Reporting by Nilufar Rizki and Maikel Jefriando; Additional reporting by Tabita Diela; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Darren Schuettler

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