By Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska Nangoy
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s export growth climbed year-on-year to an 11-year high in May, supported by high commodity prices and a weak base effect, while imports also surged with the rise of domestic demand, according to official data released Tuesday.
Southeast Asia’s largest economy has seen its exports recover vigorously from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on soaring prices for its main commodities amid improving demand from key partners trade like China and the United States.
In May, the prices of commodities such as coal, palm oil and copper roughly doubled from a year earlier, helping the resource-rich country to run a trade surplus of $ 2.37 billion. dollars, the statistics bureau said, the highest in six months.
The poll expected a surplus of $ 2.30 billion in May after April’s surplus of $ 2.19 billion.
May’s exports rose 58.76% to $ 16.60 billion, the largest increase since January 2010. This compares to an increase of 57.49% expected in a Reuters poll and growth of 51. 94% in April.
Imports amounted to $ 14.23 billion, up 68.68% from a year ago, more than the survey’s 65% growth forecast and the 29.93% rise in April. May’s growth was the strongest since April 2010.
However, the robust growth figures also showed how the pandemic had hurt Indonesia’s trade performance last year.
In the first five months of the year, Indonesia had a surplus of $ 10.17 billion, also the highest in recent years.
Bank Mandiri economist Dian Ayu Yustina expects the monthly surplus to gradually narrow as import demand increases alongside the economic recovery, while exports are expected to remain strong next year.
“There is a base year effect and the economic recovery in advanced economies may not be offset by a recovery on the supply side. Once supply catches up, commodity prices will level off, ”she said.
(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska Nangoy; editing by Ed Davies)